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Activity and strategy

Addition Machine

This addition machine is a fun way for children who are blind or visually impaired to practice their math skills!

A fun idea to support the development of addition skills, adapted from a homemade resource shared on Pinterest:  The Imagination Tree

  • Selection of small balls or pompoms
  • Medium size cardboard box
  • Two cardboard tubes
  • Some card to make thin rings numbered 1 -10 (in large print or braille) to hook over the tubes
  • Stars or foam shapes (or other decorative items) to decorate the box
  • Duct tape to trim the edges of the box (optional)
  • Textured paper to cover the tubes
  • Stand the box on its long end.
  • Cut two holes in the long side of the box to fit the width of the cardboard tube. 

addition machine

  • Cover each tube with a different textured paper, or add a foam shape to distinguish them apart.
  • Cut a triangle from one end of each tube.  (See below.)

addition machineaddition machine

  • With the box still standing on its end with the holes on the top surface. Cut off the top opening flap of the box. 
  • Decorate the box with stars or foam shapes.

addition machine

  • Add duct tape to trim and tidy the edges of the box and to hold the bottom front cardboard flap in place.

addition machine

  • Push the tubes through the two holes and position them ready to receive the pompoms.
  • Play with the addition machine:

    • Children can have fun sending the pompoms or balls down the tubes. 
    • Add the number rings over each tube and post the corresponding number of pompoms or balls down each one. Count the total number of pompoms or balls as they come out the other end of the tubes! 
  • Use balls with sound
  • Use balls with texture


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