Lately, I have been taking a break from doing too much at home with learning activities. So much sun, outdoor fun, and really, teaching at school has had me so occupied. But, I can’t resist a super simple craft that keeps the kids happy, gets them excited to learn, and doesn’t cost anything! Today, I am very excited to share a simple popsicle stick addition craft you can set up at home with materials you already have on hand!

Popsicle Stick Addition Craft

Age: 4+

Why: Addition strips like these are a great way to practice simple addition. This is a fantastic way to add a fine motor component to the activity. Fine motor skills are crucial for kids to be able to do basic tasks such as holding a pencil or using scissors.

Pinterest Board: Math Activities Ideas

What You Need to Create Popsicle Stick Addition Game

  • one empty box
  • colored popsicle sticks
  • scissors or box cutter
  • marker

How to Create Popsicle Stick Addition Game

  • Write simple addition problems on popsicle sticks.*

  • Write answers on the box. Measure enough space in between the numbers for cutting holes for the sticks.
  • Draw slits on the box where the popsicle sticks will go.
  • Take sharp scissors, a box cutter, or knife to cut holes in the box.
  • Present to children and enjoy a warm cup of coffee! They will be busy with this one!

* I added a simple control of error for this work. I wrote math problems with the same answer on one color of popsicle stick. For example, all problems where the answer was 6 were written on purple sticks. I did not color code the answers themselves because I thought this would be too easy for my 5-year-old to sort the sticks by color rather than by doing the math problem.

Ideas for Variations

  • Color sorting popsicle stick drop
  • Ask child to place a certain amount of popsicle sticks in the holes to practice counting
  • Shape matching (draw shapes or use stickers on the sticks and on the box)
  • Subtraction problems
  • Multiplication problems
  • Division problems

The kids had an absolute blast with this! Y (5 years old) was a bit quicker than I expected in solving the math portion of it, but the entire process of making the box and then dropping the sticks in had him seriously interested and concentrated! We had 45 minutes of serious work done with this, plus several requests for variations.

Even Natasha (18 months) was fascinated with it. For her, this was a serious exercise in fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and generally strengthening her hand muscles. She loved it! She walked around with the box for an hour after big brother was done, dropping sticks in and taking them back out again!

I love it when they can both enjoy one material that we can use over and over! This took about 10 minutes to create, but we got so much more fun out of it! 

More Math Resources