Commutative Law for Addition and Multiplication

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The Commutative Law for Addition and Multiplication could be a little too abstract for young children.  As I was trying to make it more concrete and visual for my kids, I came up with a few ideas to help them understand it.



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First, we pulled out some play food and plates and I set it up on the table. I asked them: If I put a hot dog and a fry on my plate and I eat the hot dog first and then the fry, how many items did I eat?  Two, that’s right!  How about if I eat the fry first and then the hot dog?  How many items did I eat?  Two again!  So no matter which one I eat first, I always end up eating the same amount of food.

They had fun pulling out food and pretending they were eating.  🙂




Then, I showed them the visual sheet I made with fruit. We talked about how we can do the same thing we did with the play food using the fruit on the sheet.  We cut out the pictures and letters and played with them for a little while as we sang the song we found on You Tube (you’ll see the video below).

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We actually didn’t glue the pictures on the first day. I wanted to practice a few times before we glued the pictures on. I think we did a couple more times on two different days, and then as a way to wrap it up and sort of evaluate their learning, I had them glue the pictures on the sheet. Now we hung it up on the wall and can go over it every so often to review it.  🙂


I’ll be trying to come up with more concrete and fun ways to present the Math Laws to young children in the next couple of weeks.  What have you tried with your young children?  Would love to hear your ideas!

Click below to download the file

Commutative Law Fruits


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