I drew an octopus with ten tentacles (I know they have only eight!). I then drew 10 boots, coloured them black, and I placed the octopus and boots on the table.
I wrote some sums down on paper (e.g. 1 boot + 2 boots = ???). I told the children that the octopus was called Horace and that he lived at the bottom of the sea. I said “Can you make him feel warmer by adding the sums together and placing the boots at the bottom of the octopus’ tentacles?”
So if the sum was 1 boot + 2 boots = ???, they would pick 1 boot up, place it on the octopus’ tentacle then count out 2 boots, do the same and then add them all together and put their answer next to the sum.