Several of my students like animals so when I saw various animal magnets at a yard sale, I grabbed them! The animal magnets not only motivated learning but they were successful for learning addition and subtraction! I started the lesson by creating an addition equation (see first picture below). Each student then took a turn afterwards and created a simple one digit addition or a subtraction equation.
To make the lesson more engaging and fun, we made animal sounds from the magnets we chose and identified the animals.