25 Addition Word Problems for Year 2 to Year 6 With Tips On Supporting Pupils’ Progress

Addition word problems appear throughout KS1 and KS2. Children are introduced to simple addition and subtraction word problems in the early years. This knowledge is then built upon throughout primary school, right up to Year 6, when pupils work with complex multi-step word problems involving large whole numbers and decimal numbers.

In the early stages, in Key Stage one and lower Key Stage two, addition word problems are taught through the use of concrete resources and visual images, using and developing subitising skills. As pupils become more confident with the formal written methods, children progress to use these to help solve more complex addition and subtraction word problems.

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Children benefit from regular exposure to word problems, alongside any fluency work they are doing. To help you with this, we have put together a collection of 25 addition word problems with answer keys, which can be used with pupils from Year 2 to Year 6.

Addition word problems in the National Curriculum

Addition word problems in Year 1

Pupils in Year 1 are introduced to simple one-step problems involving place value addition and subtraction word problems, through the use of concrete objects, pictorial representations and missing number problems. At this stage, children should be memorising and reasoning with number bonds to 10 and 20. They also need to understand the effect of adding zero.

Addition word problems in Year 2

In Year 2, pupils continue to use concrete objects and pictorial representations to solve addition problems, including those involving numbers, quantities, measures and simple money word problems. They are also expected to apply their increasing knowledge of mental and written methods,  using one and two-digit numbers. Pupils start working on basic written addition and are introduced to the concept of regrouping.

Addition word problems in Year 3

By Year 3, pupils are starting to tackle more complex addition word problems. They begin to use written methods to add 3-digit numbers, using formal column method for addition. Pupils also begin solving addition problems involving fractions, in addition to building on their mental addition skills to add a three-digit number and ones, tens and hundreds. 

Addition word problems in Year 4

Pupils in Year 4 progress to solving two-step problems in contexts, deciding which operations and methods to use and why. They are also beginning to work with larger numbers, adding up to four digits using the formal written method of column addition.

Addition word problems in Year 5

By Year 5, pupils are solving multi-step word problems in contexts. They add whole numbers with more than four digits and decimal numbers, using formal written methods. Children are also adding increasingly larger numbers mentally.

Third Space Learning’s online one-to-one tutoring programmes work with students to fill their learning gaps and build confidence in maths. Tailored to the needs of each student, Third Space Learning’s tutoring programmes offer students more opportunities to practice their maths skills and reach their year group standard.

addition word problem lesson slide
Example of a Year 5 Third Space Learning online lesson slide
covering multi-step addition and subtraction word problems

Addition word problems in Year 6

Pupils in Year 6 continue to work with larger numbers and decimals, solving increasingly complex multi-step problems, deciding which operations to use and why. By this stage students should have a solid grasp of the written methods for all four operations.

Why are word problems important for children’s understanding of addition

Word problems help children to make sense of addition. In the Early Years, simple story problems aid understanding of what is being asked, alongside the use of concrete resources and visual images. Real-life word problems are an important element of the maths curriculum for children throughout the school, giving them the opportunity to put the addition skills they have learnt into context, to understand how they can be used in the outside world. 

How to teach addition word problem solving in primary school

Pupils need to be taught how to approach word problems, beginning by reading the questions carefully and making sure they fully understand what is being asked. The next step is to determine what calculation is needed and whether there are concrete resources or pictorial representations  they can use to help solve it, or if 

Here is an example:

There were 3,756 people on a cruise ship.

456 people get on after the first week, whilst 623 get off.

How many passengers are on board the ship now after the first week?

How to solve:

What do you already know?

  • There are 3,756 on the cruise ship at the start of the journey.
  • 456 people get on after the first week, therefore we need to add 456 to 3,746. This gives us a total of 4,212 people
  • 623 people get off, so we need to subtract 623 from the total number of passengers now on the boat. When we subtract 623 from 4,212, we get a total of 3,589.

How can this be represented pictorially?

bar model addition
  • We can draw 2 bar models to represent this problem.
  • The number of passengers who got on the ship after the first week is added to the  total number of people on the boat at the start of the trip. 
  • We then draw a second bar model to show how many passengers were left on the ship once the 623 passengers got off after the first week.

Addition word problems for year 2

Addition word problems in Year 2 require pupils to work with 1 and 2-digit numbers. At this stage it is important children are working with concrete resources to support their understanding. Children also begin to learn how to check their answers by finding the inverse of  calculations.

Year 2 addition question 1

Maise has 14 crayons. Her friend gives her 8 more. 

How many crayons does Maisie have now?

Answer: 22 crayons

14 + 8 = 22

Year 2 addition question 2

Hamza buys a large pack of biscuits, whilst his sister buys a small pack.

The large pack contains 18 biscuits, whilst the small pack contains 8.

How many biscuits does Hamza and his sister have altogether?

Answer: 26 biscuits

18 + 8 = 26

Year 2 addition question 3

13 children sign up for the after school football club and 11 sign up for the netball club.

How many children sign up altogether?

Answer: 24 children

13 + 11 = 24

Year 2 addition question 4

Amal collects 34 conkers. Her brother finds 7 more and adds them to her collection.

How many conkers does Amal have now?

Answer: 41 conkers

34 + 7 = 41

Year 2 addition question 5

38 children were on the bus going to the zoo. 

The bus stopped to pick up 12 children from another school.

How many children were on the bus now?

Answer: 50 children

38 + 12 = 50

Addition word problems for year 3

Word problems for Year 3 require pupils to work with larger numbers. By this stage, children are becoming more confident with the formal written column  method and are able to use this to solve 2 and 3 digit addition word problems. Addition word problems can be incorporated into other areas of the maths curriculum, for example, through time word problems

Year 3 addition question 1

Mason has collected 256 stickers. Rory has collected 352 stickers.

How many stickers have the two boys collected between them?

Answer: 608 stickers

256 + 352 = 608

Year 3 addition question 2

A train driver drove 234 miles on Monday and a further 186 miles on Tuesday.

How many miles did he drive in total over the 2 days?

Answer: 420 miles

(Show as column method; 234 + 186 = 420)

Year 3 addition question 3

Sam spent £1.25 on a bar of chocolate in the shop. He then spent 60p on a packet of sweets. How much did he spend all together

Answer: £1.85

1.25 + 85 = 1.85

Year 3 addition question 4

A climber has climbed 238m up the mountain. He has another 174m to go to reach the top. How high is the mountain?

Answer: 412m

(Show has column method: 238 + 174 = 412)

Year 3 addition question 5

A family was travelling to their holiday home. 

They set off at 9am and travelled for an hour and a half. 

They then had a 20 minute break and travelled for another hour. 

What time did they reach their holiday home?

Answer: 11:50am

1 ½ hours + 20 minutes + 1 hours = 2 hours 50 


Start at 9am, count on an hour, then another 20 minutes, followed by another hour = 11:50am

Addition word problems for year 4

With word problems for Year 4, pupils progress onto 4 digit addition word problems. They are also beginning to solve more complex, two-step word problems. Children should be encouraged to estimate and find the inverse, to check the accuracy of their calculations. In Year 4, pupils also solve addition word problems involving  fractions and decimals.

Year 4 addition question 1

A builder is building a wall around the school playing field.

He has used 4865 bricks so far and has another 1135 bricks to finish the wall.

How many bricks will he use to build the wall?

Answer: 6000 bricks

4865 + 1135 = 6000

Year 4 addition question 2

Hot dogs: £1.60

Burgers: £1.40

Pizza: £1.99

Fries: £1.25

Soft drinks: £1.15

Chloe is buying some food from a cafe. 

She buys 2 hot dogs, a pizza, 2 portions of fries and 2 drinks. 

How much does she spend altogether?

Answer: £9.99

Hot dogs: £1.60 + £1.60 = £3.20

Pizza: £1.99

Fries: £1.25 + £1.25 = £2.50

Drinks: £1.15 + £1.15 = £2.30

Total= £3.20 + £1.99 + £2.50 + £2.30 = £9.99

Year 4 addition question 3

A runner is completing a 10,000m race. 

He has already run 4560m. How much further does he have to run?

Answer: 5440m

Solved mentally by calculating how many more metres to 5000m – 440m, then adding on a further 5000m = 5440m

This can also be solved as a missing number column addition, or as a subtraction calculation.

Year 4 addition question 4

Ben has £50. He buys a t-shirt for £15.50 and a hoodie for £25.50. 

How much change does he have left?

Answer: £9 change

£15.50 + £25.50 = £41

£50 – £41 = 9

Year 4 addition question 5

A flight from London to Doha is a distance of 6731 miles. It is then another 12,375km to Sydney. 

How far is the journey from London to Sydney, via Doha?

Answer: 19,106 miles

12,375 + 6731 = 19,106

Addition word problems for year 5

Word problems for Year 5 require pupils to solve addition word problems with larger numbers (more than 4 digits), using formal written methods and  mentally. Word problems become more complex multi-step problems, involving other operations. Pupils at this stage should continue to be encouraged to check their answers by finding the inverse.

Year 5 addition question 1

Three towns have populations of 14,768, 17,956 and 13,858.

What is the total population of the three towns combined?

Answer: 46,582

(Show as column method 14,768 + 17,956 + 13,858 = 46,582)

Year 5 addition question 2

A car can hold 60 litres of fuel when the tank is full.

If 17.98 litres of fuel has been used, how much fuel does the tank hold now?

Answer: 42.02L

This can be solved mentally, by counting on from 17.98, as a missing number addition question, using column addition, or as a subtraction question.

Year 5 addition question 3

A man weighing 85.23kg gets into a lift. On the next floor, another man gets in, weighing 79.4kg.

If the lift can hold a maximum weight of 500kg, how much more weight can the lift carry?

Answer: 335.37kg

(show as column method)

85.23 + 79.4 = 164.63

500 – 164.63 = 335.37


Count up from 164.63 or solve as a missing number addition.

Year 5 addition question 4

The temperature in Toronto was -27 degrees celsius one January evening. On the same day, the temperature in Doha went up to 29 degrees. 

What was the difference between the temperature in Toronto and the temperature in Doha?

Answer: 56 degrees celsius

29 + 27 = 56

Year 5 addition question 5

Large packet of biscuits – £1.75

Small packet of biscuits – 98p

Lucy buys 2 large packets of biscuits and 4 small packets. How much change will she get from a £10 note?

Answer: £2.58

2 large packets = £1.75 + £1.75 = £3.50

4 small packets = 98p x 4 = £3.92

Total = £3.92 + £3.50 = £7.42

£10 – 7.42 = £2.58  or count on from £7.42 to £10 

Addition word problems for year 6

With word problems for Year 6, pupils need to be able to solve word problems using larger whole numbers of up to 6 or 7 digits, problems involving fraction word problems and problems involving decimals.  Addition word problems in SATs include one-step, two-step and more complex multi-step problems.

Year 6 addition question 1

Mr Jones spent £24,799 on a new car and £8,750 on a caravan.

He has £15,074 left in his bank account. 

How much did he have to start with?

Answer: £48,623

24,799 + 8,750 = 33,549

33,549 + 15,074 = 48,623

Year 6 addition question 2

17,523 more people visited a theme park this year than last year.

If 315,736 people visited last year. How many visited this year?

Answer: 333,259 people

315,736 + 17,523 = 333,259

Year 6 addition question 3

A zoo buys 53.7kg of animal feed. Each day, 7.34kg is used for the camels, 2356g for the meerkats and 4.49kg for the zebras.

After 2 days, how much will the zoo have left?

Answer: 25.328kg left

7.34 + 2.356 + 4.49 = 14,186

14,186 + 14,186 = 28.372

53.7 – 28.372 = 25.328

Year 6 addition question 4

A company sent out 1,417,806 flyers in April and 931,368 in May.

  1. Estimate how many flyers the company sent out in April and May combined.
  2. What is the actual number of flyers sent out? 


  1. 2,300,000 

1,400,000 + 900,000 = 2,300,00

  1. 1,417,806 + 931,368 = 2,349,174

Year 6 addition question 5

The Brown family are going on a road trip. They plan to drive 274.3 miles to a hotel. They then have another 276.9 miles to drive to reach their final destination.

If they have travelled 197.8 miles so far, how much further do they have to travel before they reach their final destination?

Answer: 353.4 miles

274.3 + 276.9 = 551.2

551.2 – 197.8 = 353.4

Looking for more word problems resources?

Take a look at our comprehensive collection of word problems practice questions covering a wide range of topics such as ratio word problems, percentages word problems, multiplication word problems, division word problems and more. 

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