Arrow Addition Matching Game

Addition Arrows Matching Game | Mama Papa Bubba

After the success of last week’s play dough subtraction smash, I decided that we’d focus on another playful math activity this week, and since Miss G’s been all about getting going with Valentine’s Day stuff since we took down our Christmas tree, I thought we’d incorporate that too.  While hearts were {of course} the first thing that popped into my mind, I wanted to switch things up a little, so an arrow addition matching game it was.

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Now when the idea came to me initially, I envisioned using inexpensive craft foam to create my arrow parts, but at the last minute, I remembered the stash of pretty felt I’d hidden away when we first game back to Kuwait…  And with colours like these, how could I resist?

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Making the arrows was really easy.  Using a basic wooden popsicle stick as size guide, I created a paper pattern for the arrow head and the fletchings before cutting out all of my felt pieces {one fletching and two arrow heads per arrow}.  Using my trusty Tacky Glue, I glued the fletching pieces directly onto my popsicle sticks and glued my arrow head pieces together along the sides, leaving the bases open to form little triangular pockets.  Then I let everything dry.

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It’s hard to tell in this photo, but instead of writing directly on the popsicle stick shafts, I opted to cover them with Scotch Magic Tape before writing our simple addition questions on them.  Same goes for the arrow heads…  Instead of writing the sums directly on the felt with fabric markers, I wrote them on small dot stickers and then stuck them on.  Writing directly on the arrow pieces would obviously work perfectly {and would take less effort}, but as I was creating our little arrows, I had so many ideas of other ways to use them, I wanted to make sure that we could switch the game up in the future if we wanted to.

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Of course Miss G spotted the tray of colourful arrows the moment she woke up this morning, so there was no slow, relaxing morning to be had.  She wanted to get our day going asap and get playing our new game!

To get our game started, I asked her to choose 5 arrows she wanted begin with and she slid the felt tops off and we mixed them around…

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Then, she selected an arrow shaft to start with and read the addition question aloud before figuring out the sum and finding the arrow head to match.  She was surprised to find that the arrow fletchings and arrow heads didn’t necessarily match in colour, which made the game slightly more challenging than if they had matched {something you could do to support a timid / beginning learner}.

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She did this again and again and thought it was great fun.  Not to mention that sliding the popsicle stick shafts into the felt arrow heads provided a good fine motor workout.

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With the first set done, we moved onto the other set.  Grae was super into solving the addition questions and I loved watching her bop her little fingers on her nose as she counted them up.

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The funniest part occurred when she couldn’t find the answer she was looking for…  Instead of getting frustrated, she jabbed her pointer finger up into the air and confidently announced, ‘I know what will help me!  My ROBOT EYE!’  She then ran off, retrieved the mini magnifying glass she got in her Christmas stocking, and used it to help her find what she was looking for.  {Robot eyes are very helpful, apparently.}

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When she was all done with the game, we tucked the pieces into a small muslin drawstring bag and put it with the other busy bags/boxes we keep by the door so we can quickly grab it the next time we’re headed somewhere where a wait might be involved.

And when she’s done using her arrows for addition, I think we’ll switch them up to create a new game.  I’m thinking that we’ll either use them to reinforce number words {the words on the shaft and the numerals on the heads} or number recognition of higher numbers {dots or tallies on the shafts with corresponding numerals on the heads}, but I think using them without anything on them at all – simply as a colour matching game – would be great for littler ones too!


Alright…  Ready for the fun part?  Here are some of the Valentine-themed busy bags / boxes / kits our online friends have been enjoying recently…  So many fun ideas, aren’t there?!

15 Must-Try Valentine Busy Bags


Arrow Addition Matching Game // {by yours truly}

Felt Heart Garden // Powerful Mothering

LEGO Valentine’s Day Puzzle // Lemon Lime Adventures

Letter Match Memory Game // The Educators’ Spin On It

DIY Valentine Dominoes // Mommy Needs a Coffee Break

Printable Valentine’s Day Mix and Match Puzzles // Itsy Bitsy Fun

Printable Conversation Heart Number Book // Playdough to Plato

Conversation Heart Color Match // Preschool Inspirations

Valentine’s Day Math Busy Bag // Still Playing School

3 Low Prep Busy Bags // Lalymom

Plant Heart Garden // Best Toys 4 Toddlers

Tic Tac Toe // Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Threading Love Hearts // Adventures of Adam

Valentine’s Day Color Sort // Sugar Aunts

Valentine’s Day Number Matching // Coffee Cups and Crayons

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