The basic facts which are the doubles are those facts which add two of the same: 3 + 3, 7 + 7, and so forth. They have many connections to things in real life, and these should be explored. Many things on the human body come in pairs of 2; some things come pairs of 5. The legs on insects come in pairs of 3, while spider legs come in pairs of 4. Talking about such doubles is a great way to start with young children.
Skip counting by two’s is also a great connection for the doubles. Many children are quite fascinated when they realize that the answers to all of the doubles questions lie in the skip counting sequence.
The doubles can be tied to ten frames, especially those larger than 5 + 5. If a child looks at two six cards, each has a full five on it. Together these can be put together as a full 10, leaving only the two other single dots. Thus 6 + 6 becomes 5 + 5 + 1 + 1 or 10 +2. Similarly, 8 + 8 can become 10 + 3 + 3. Such strategies offer ways for children to eventually close their eyes, see the needed 10 frames, and answer the questions.
Once the doubles are learned, then the near doubles can be addressed. We want children to recognize that 6 + 7 can be thought of as 6 + 6 + 1 (or 7 + 7 – 1, as some children want to double the larger number). Even the “two-aways” can be learned in this matter. 6 + 8 can be 6 + 6 + 2. That fact can also be addressed by compensation: take one from the 8 and move it over to the 6, thus changing 6 + 8 to an actual double 7 + 7.
Although the ten frames provide a visual/pictorial tool, younger children can use actual counter to go through the motions of these kinds of strategies. Egg cartons are a wonderful tool for this! Just cut two of the “cups” off one end of a carton leaving 10 cups in the same formation of a 10 frame. Children can then put 6 counters in one egg carton, 8 in another and then physically move one from the 8 to the 6, revealing the 7 + 7.