10 Fun Subtraction Worksheets for Kindergarten

10 Fun Subtraction Worksheets for Kindergarten

If you want to teach your young students the basics of subtraction, these worksheets and activities are the perfect place to start! I'm here to help you find the best subtraction worksheets for kindergarten that will spark a love of learning and build strong foundational skills in all sorts of fun ways!

Although teachers introduce subtraction in Kindergarten, it's usually at a very basic level. We focus more on laying the groundwork of subtraction. The concept of subtraction is more cognitively complex than addition since you're removing an amount from a larger whole, which can be challenging for young children.

In Kindergarten, we tend to focus most on the relationship between addition and subtraction, developing the language of subtraction, and giving kids a lot of hands-on, interactive experiences finding missing addends and removing a part from a whole.  

With this practice, your students will be well-prepared to study subtraction in more depth in 1st and 2nd Grade, and you'll give them a practical set of math skills to rely on in the future!

Teaching Subtraction in Kindergarten

If you need to teach your kindergarten students about subtraction, you'll need some developmentally appropriate resources to do just that! In The Hive, our all-in-one digital teacher platform, my software developer husband and I have developed hundreds of printable resources, videos, and digital learning tools to help you teach smarter, not harder.

In The Hive, you'll also find evidence-based lesson plans to help you teach every Kindergarten math concept this year more easily than ever before! There are two kindergarten-friendly subtraction lesson plans that each cover five days of learning about these two topics:

Part Whole Relationships

By the time you teach subtraction, you'll have already covered the concept of addition, specifically that addition is about combining different parts to make a whole. In this unit of lesson plans, you'll teach your young learners that subtraction is about removing a part from the whole to find the missing part. In Kindergarten, we're generally focused on subtracting single digits from either 10 or 20, which are easier to manage with manipulatives and finger counting.

Separating (Subtracting) Quantities

In this unit of lesson plans, you'll teach your students the language around subtraction, like "take away" and "subtract." These lessons really focus on connecting subtraction to real life to build on your students' prior knowledge, including using a variety of manipulatives and finger-counting to practise "taking away" or finding "how many more."


Printable Subtraction Worksheets for Kindergarten

The kindergarten worksheets and activities below will help your students learn their subtraction facts while also using lots of manipulatives to strengthen their fine motor skills and number sense at the same time!

Subtraction Smash

This free printable game aligns perfectly with the Subtracting Quantities lesson plan above! The student rolls out either 10 or 20 little balls of playdough and places them in a ten frame, then smashes a specific number either by rolling a dice or pulling a number card. The hands-on element makes it more exciting! 

Finger Subtraction Template

This template of two hands is actually a really helpful way to develop a more conceptual understanding of numbers. Since your students already know how to finger count really well, using a template like this scaffolds them toward using symbols to represent numbers. It's a great baby step before moving on to more abstract representations later on.

Grab your copy of this printable template as a member of The Hive!

Subtraction Towers

Use that container of unifix or snap cubes to practise basic subtraction in this hands-on activity! Students build a tower based on the whole in the subtraction problem, then they remove a certain amount to find the difference. 

This activity includes two different sets, one that practises subtracting single-digit numbers from 10 and another that subtracts from 20. Perfect for math centers or independent practice! 

Counter Subtraction Worksheet

Also available on The Hive, this simple subtraction worksheet uses visual models to help students learn single digit subtraction. It is essentially a blank template, so you can have them choose how many circles to cross out with a domino, dice, or number cards.  

 My favourite part is the number sentence below each set of counters that says "__ take away __ is the same as ___." Technically, this is the same as ___ - ____ = ___, but written out in kid-friendly language. It's a great scaffold for horizontal subtraction!

Part Part Whole Mat

For this printable template, you'll want to keep it on hand for both your addition and subtraction lessons! It's about the all-important part-part-whole relationship and is very similar to a number bond. There are so many ways to use this mat, depending on the lesson. You can really come back to it again and again as you teach addition and subtraction in different ways.  

It'd be such a handy way to model solving simple subtraction story problems or to visualise different math problems in whole- and small-group lessons!

Hungry Shark Subtraction Pages

Kids love this simple subtraction worksheet, which has them cut out little fish and show how many are left after the shark gobbles some up! It also covers several different ways of writing about subtraction, including filling out matching word problems and then writing a number sentence with the solution. Such great practice!

Colour By Pages

These FREE fun worksheets cover a variety of academic skills, including addition and subtraction, identifying digraphs, practising heart words, and more! The entire set is completely free and is a great option for consolidating learning in a fun and colourful way!

Takeaway Trash Subtraction Game

My very favourite thing about this interactive game is how neatly it models the relationship between the whole and the two parts! Start by adding counters to represent the whole from the task card, then sweep the subtracted amount into the bin to find the missing part.

It's such an easy way to make subtraction fun and hands-on, which will help your students learn it more deeply, too! 

Missing Addends Game

Although this is technically an addition game, it's actually a great way to get some subtraction practice at the same time! There are 90 task cards, each giving you the whole and one of the parts. Students must find the missing numbers to complete the task. This is a perfect bridge between addition and subtraction and is an excellent resource for beginners! 

Number Line Subtraction

These number line task cards rely on the jump strategy, which is a great way to visualise subtraction as moving backward on the number line. Since the number line is connected to telling time and distance, this is an important way to get some extra practice with this important representation while also using it as a visual scaffold for subtraction.

This particular activity was created for 1st and 2nd grade lesson plans, so it may be beyond your young mathematicians at the beginning of the year. Save it as an extension activity for kids who grasp the concept of subtraction really quickly!

Don't forget - there are loads of interactive digital learning tools in The Hive, including our Number Line app which would be a perfect scaffold and support for your lessons with number lines! 

Try The Hive today for FREE with our 7 day free trial!

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