Numbers for all ages

I've been looking for ways to add more maths to my provision using activities that children of all ages would enjoy and benefit from.  This is what we've come up with so far.

Numbered Parking Spaces

I covered our work table with A3 sheets of white paper taped together.  Then I set out the Fireman Sam vehicles in a way that I thought looked interesting.  Next I drew parking spaces around each vehicle and wrote a number in each space.  I had some red felt sticky numbers left from Christmas so I stuck them onto the fire engines, helicopters and boats.  The red numbers showed up really well on the yellow parts of the trucks and less well on the red parts.  I think this is good because the children really have to look, or feel for the numbers.  Then I just put the Fireman Sam people in various vehicles or standing around on the table.

The children played at the table and D (who is 3) noticed the numbers on the vehicles and on the paper without me telling her.  She organised the vehicles into their correct parking spaces.  She also played with the whole imaginative set up, driving the vehicles around, putting different people behind the wheels, flying the helicopters, rescuing Normal who kept falling off the edge of the table, putting Fireman Sam into the high lift etc and when she'd finished she always parked the vehicles back into their correct spaces.

Sensory Box

We repurposed our Christmas sensory box.  I had coloured rice red and green and added some white.  We made sure there were no yukky bits in the rice and then added some spongy numbers that I got from the pound shop (they came in a bag with letters too so good value).  I sat with the children who played with the rice, letting it run through their fingers, picking it up, dropping it, squashing the numbers etc.  I encouraged them to use spoons to cover up different numbers and then try to find them again.  We lined the numbers up in the right order and stuck them into the rice, we found the ages of each of the children and let them hold onto them and then hide them under the rice.  I am sure there are lots of other things we can do.  In any case the little girl who I look after who has FASD just loved this activity.

The children said "Lana, can we have your scales to measure things please?"  I hadn't even thought of this so yay for children's initiative.  They turned the scales on, stood them next to each other and weighed lots of different things, even the same thing on the different scales.  Language like, heavy, full, lighter was thrown around and talked about.

When the older children came in from school (aged 6, 9 and 10) they immediately went over to the sensory box and started playing.  They enjoyed the feel of the rice running through their fingers, hiding the numbers, pouring and scooping.  Then they decided to play "hide the number" which turned into "hide the even numbers" or "hide the uneven numbers".  The younger children watched and then joined in asking how this game worked.  The older children  used words like "you're getting hotter, hotter, boiling, burning".  When some of the numbers were found they said to each other "you found number 2 and 6 but you're still missing 4 and 8".

Playdough mats

I downloaded these free printables from LifeOverC's, laminated them and then selotaped numbers 1, 2 and 3 to our small table to make sure they didn't move around.  Next add playdough.  We used orange and I told the children that we had to make oranges to go onto their trees.  They had to tell me what number they had and then make that number of oranges.  Then we made sausages and traced out the outline of our respective numbers and finally filled in the 10 box the correct number of small pieces of playdough.  Of course playdough offers so much benefit all round, pressing, squashing, rolling, pulling.

"L" who  has FASD found this activity funny.  I rolled out a long sausage and covered her number 2 with it.  She touched it and then moved her hand away, looked at me and laughed out loud.

squashing and pressing playdough is fun

Threading Cheerios (or beads)

Large piece of cardboard with pipe cleaners selotaped on with some more of my left over Christmas felt numbers stuck above each pipe cleaner.  Offer Cheerios (buttons, or beads etc) to thread the correct amount onto each pipe cleaner


This term we will be looking at:



sea creatures

the deep dark sea

on top of the sea

rock pools

the Queens Jubilee


Cold sea

Warm sea

Sea mammals


The coral reef

4th July



and our topic for this term is:

The Sea

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  Ilana Hill 2012