I bet many of you have heard of bean toss addition, but have you heard of bean toss SUBTRACTION? Well, here’s how to use a few Lima beans and the free download included in this post to teach your little ones how to do subtraction. It’s fun, easy, and once you get the kids going, you’ll find that this is a NO PREP, hands-on lesson that your kiddos will enjoy!
To get started, though, there is one little thing you’ll have to do. You’ll need to spray paint some Lima beans on one side. You can spray paint them any color you like, but traditionally they are painted red on one side and left white on the other. The beans I used in this post are painted gold on one side because I was using them as “leprechaun gold” for St. Patrick’s Day!
But in the past, I have painted the beans many bright colors to make them look like jelly beans for spring time, and that’s fun, too! Once you get them painted, all you’ll need is some small cups and the bean toss subtraction paper!
There are several versions of this Bean Toss Subtraction paper so that kids can practice subtracting from four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. I always start with the fours to keep it easy.
Here is the procedure, assuming you are working on subtracting from fours:
1. Start by putting four beans into the cup.
2. Shake up their cup and spill out their beans.
3. Count how many beans there are, (the amount should match the picture,) and write that number in the first box.
4. Check to see how many beans fall with the colored side up, and color that many beans to match. Write that number in the next box.
5. Cross out the beans that are not colored. Write that number in the last box. That is the difference in the subtraction problem.
When I did this in my Kindergarten class, I used to make a packet of papers for the children to continue working on at their own pace, and just kept these packets in a tub. We would do this activity twice a week regularly, such as every Monday and Wednesday, just to make everything nice and easy. We would work on these packets until I was satisfied that everyone had a good handle on understanding subtraction, or was just plain tired of it. Then we would switch to something else!
If you would like to try this, you can download one of the Bean Toss Subtraction sheets here. The addition sheets sample can be found here. Or purchase the masters for both the addition and subtraction sheets here as $4 download!
Here’s the Subtraction Song from Musical Math Vol. 1!!
Are you on Pinterest?? Here’s my Addition & Subtraction Pinterest board for some more ideas!!
You may also enjoy these other fun subtraction activities as well.
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