Fill Your Cup: A Simple Addition Game

Sep 28, 2015

My daughter is really interested in numbers right now. She loves counting them, comparing them, ordering them and adding and subtracting them too!  

When we do activities at home, I try to follow her lead as much as possible—that’s how this simple little addition game came about. 

It's fun and easy to play, but the game also incorporates all kinds of important math concepts: counting, one-to-one correspondence, addition and comparison.

I also love that it doesn't require any special materials. In fact, my guess is that if you took a quick look around your home right now, you’d find everything you need! 

Alright, so let’s get on with it.  Here’s how to play Fill Your Cup!

You Will Need:

  • a pair of dice
  • 2 identical clear cups or jars
  • edible or non-edible counters (we chose to use grapes this time around, but berries, pretzel bites, pennies, small cube blocks or pompoms would work perfectly too. Use your imagination here!)
  • 2 players

How To Play:

1.  Decide who will go first.  We usually start with the youngest player in our family.

2.  Player 1 rolls the dice.

3.  Player 1 adds the sum of her dice (in this case, 4 + 2 = 6).

A table with grapes and 2 dice. One die reads 2, the other reads 4.

4.  Player 1 adds the corresponding number of counters (in this case, grapes) to her cup and the turn is over.

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5.  Now it’s player 2’s turn! He rolls the dice, adds the numbers together and places the corresponding number of counters into his cup. 

6.  The players continue taking turns back and forth, comparing their cups every once and a while.

A girl looks at two cups filled with grapes. One has more grapes than the other.

7.  When both players have had an equal number of turns and one player fills his or her cup, the game is over and the player with the full cup wins!

In the case that both players fill their cups on the same turn, a count-off may be in order!

Of course, this game is meant to be fun and it really doesn’t matter who wins, but count-off situations allow for higher level counting and great number comparison opportunities.

Depending on what you’ve used as counters, your little one might notice that even though both cups look equally full, one player may have significantly more counters than the other. If so, take this chance to chat a little bit about size and capacity. There are so many playful learning opportunities here!

When the game is over, you can dump out your counters and play again. Of course, if you’ve used edible counters, you could move straight into snack time.


Article Author Jen Kossowan
Jen Kossowan

See all of Jen's posts.

Jen is a teacher, blogger, and mama to a spirited little lady and a preemie baby boy. She's passionate about play, loves a good DIY project, adores travelling, and can often be found in the kitchen creating recipes that meet her crunchy mama criteria. You can follow Jen on her blog, Mama.Papa.Bubba, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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