FOR ALL AGES

# Addition Facts To 20 Explained For Kids (And Parents!)

Addition is a step which children pick up quite naturally as soon as they begin to learn counting.

Throughout kindergarten and first grade, adding physical objects together is really important. It reinforces children’s comprehension of place value.

Later on, when children become confident adding piles of objects together, they can move on to using number lines or counting on in their heads. When children have understood this, they can begin to learn their addition facts and progress on to more complex math. Here’s where you might have heard of addition facts to 20, and there’s no need to feel worried about this step, let’s take a look at how you can teach 1st-grade addition to your kids. If you are looking for further math facts check our addition facts to 10 and doubles facts.

## What Are Addition Facts To 20?

The addition facts to 20 are, simply put, the sums from 0+0 up to 10+10. They’re the foundation steps of arithmetic, and usually, the very first math facts that children acquire. Many schools recommend that children fully master the 20 addition facts by the end of the 1st grade (and no later than the middle of 2nd grade). Adding to 20 paves the way to the rest of successful math learning.

## Why Is It Important?

Learning the addition math facts to 20 helps children comprehend the principles of any addition sums better. One key concept that kids learn as they acquire the addition fact strategy is the idea of the commutative property. It’s a long name, but it just means that we can add numbers in any order and get the same outcome. For example, 3 + 5 equals 5 + 3, or 6 + 4 equals 4 + 6. (The commutative property also reduces the number of facts that kids need to master; once they know 6+4, they already know 4 + 6.)

Learning the addition facts also prepares kids for regrouping and “carrying on the one” when they start adding larger numbers. For example, when kids add 6+5, they discover that they have one group of ten, with one leftover, or 11. This is precisely the same kind of thinking they’ll need to do when they start adding two-digit numbers vertically and with further addition practice.

## How To Explain Addition Facts To Kids

The secret to learning the up to 20 addition facts is all about making it real, tangible and fun. Kitchen fun is one great way. Anything you can eat makes math fun and engaging! Take a packet of cookies, a container of small sweets, and start by placing 8 in front of your child. Count them. Now put three more down in front of your child. Count again. So 8 + 3 makes 11. Try the same thing but this time begin with 9 (count) and add a bigger number like 7 or 8 (count again). Share with your child how slow this addition fact counting process can be!

## Addition To 20 By Counting On

Teaching counting on is a useful skill when adding small numbers ie (1, 2, 3 or maybe 4) to a larger number. Many children find counting on tricky; however, as they begin by counting the larger number within 20 rather than counting on to the next. One useful method is to start by physically keeping the big number to one side and the smaller number to the other side. Once your child becomes familiar with the strategy, dividing them will no longer be required.

## Addition To 20 By Finger Hopping

Place 9 tangible items (such as sweets, beads or small bears) on the table, slightly to the left of your child. Now, line up 3 of the same things, slightly to the right of your child. Point to the group of 9 and count them. Then, make overly exaggerated hops as you count with your finger.

## Use Number Lines To Learn Addition To 20

Begin with your finger on the first number and then “jump” along counting 1, 2, 3 or 4 to get your answer within 20. Discuss which is easier to work out? Do you feel it’s more comfortable to add 3 + 3 or 3 + 8 using the counting on method? Together you can try this by finger hopping with a number line to learn facts about addition. Begin with a finger on 9 and then hop along counting 1, 2 to get to the answer. Now start on 2 and jump along with counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. You can try this strategy with 3 + 8 and 8 + 3 as well as other pairs of numbers.

You may notice some children will be able to add 2, 3 or 4 by counting on in their head without any extra support or advice. For those children who require additional help, you can show them how to use the “head and fingers” method. What is 9 plus 2? Explain to the child how to point to their head with their non-dominant hand, saying 9. Then count on 2 using the fingers of their other hand - 10, 11. The answer is 11. What is 9 plus 3? Point to their head - 9 - and count on 3 on the fingers - 10, 11, 12. The answer is 12. Try to do this in a rhythm and have fun while doing it to master addition facts. For example 11 add 2 is 11 (head), 12 (finger), 13 (finger), with a stress on the 13! After a while, you can suggest to “keep” the first number in their head mentally rather than pointing to their head.

Count on facts methods and number lines are an excellent way to get children started on adding more significant numbers, but both have their limitations. Counting on gets trickier when you are adding bigger numbers together, and number lines aren’t always available or practical for all additions problems.

Should one of the 2 numbers to be added be greater than 10 but within 20, children can make use of this next method to learn addition facts. It’s a handy way to practice for mental math agility later as the child gets older, and also shows the concept of “tens” and “units” - without going into too much detail for the first time. The higher number is separated into one “ten” and a number unit. The units are then added together, and that total is added to 10. So, for example: 13 + 5 becomes 10 + 3 + 5 or 10 + 8, or 18.

## Flashcards And Math Worksheets For 2nd Grade

Using flashcards with your child is a brilliant and visual way to learn addition math facts within 20. They can be taken when you are out, played within a fun game, or used daily until your child recalls their facts off by heart. Flashcards are also a fun way to get your child to speed up with learning the addition facts to 20. Addition worksheets are also a great way to extend your teaching and check your child is comprehending. As you transition away from using tangible objects and from 1st grade and into more complex 2nd-grade work, stock up on plenty of addition worksheets.

## What Can You Do If Your Child Isn’t Generalizing Learning?

Games are a fantastic way to generalize taught math skills, in what some learners may find a tricky topic. You can readily play basic addition and subtraction games by using a deck of cards. One straightforward game is Addition Sums War: Each player turns over two cards and has to add them up, and the player with the higher number gets to keep the cards. Continue the game until one player loses all of their cards. You can use games as a bridge to math worksheets and if math worksheets are too tricky, take a look at them and think about how to turn it into a game. This is a great tip for both addition and subtraction worksheets.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Addition Facts To 20 Explained To Kids, then why not take a look at these numbers facts or facts about the number 5?

###### Written By
Dayna Clarke

Dayna grew up in rural Devon speaking three languages at home, she is the definition of a ‘linguaphile’! After studying Speech Therapy and Psychology at the University of Reading, she now works as a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in early intervention for children with special educational needs. She also works with adults and teenagers who have dysfluency. When she’s not supporting children and families within schools and her clinic, she’s out exploring with her own kids. She has worked extensively overseas and is the editor of an inflight magazine for Air Malta.

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