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Activities to develop early number skills


 · Money and change in role play situations

· Playing ‘teachers’ – make a register, line up teddies, count how many ‘children are present’, record ‘how many’ (You could use ticks or dots to represent numbers)

· Visual timetable: children can be encouraged to discuss sequence of the day’s events, for example, what comes next .. before

· Tidy up times: use of positional language, number, shape and space, matching, sorting, classifying, one to one correspondence; use of timer at tidy up times – doing it within a time limit

· Preparing snack: one to one correspondence, estimating, counting, matching

· Story props that children can use in their play ( a range of stories support mathematical development)

· Snack time: problem solving activities – how many cups will we need? Counting, sharing experiences, comparing quantity. Look at patterns/shapes on plates, placemats, napkins, biscuits. Separate objects into unequal groups as well as equal groups

· Collections of interesting things to sort, order count and label

· A range of tactile numerals to supporting matching activities

· Lining up objects up then counting them

· Estimating – ‘I wonder how many…?’

 · Ordering numbers

· Make a number line with children – talk about what comes after, before, next. Hide a number and ask which one is missing. You could make handprints they have made and number them.

· Devise a number walk in the local environment looking for house numbers, cars with numbers, prices in shops, numbers on buses, etc. Take photographs of the numbers seen at home or in the local environment - you could make them into a book.

·Tally or put a counter or a pebble in a tin every time you see a dog/post box/baby, etc – count them when you get home

· Create number trails around the house – numbered footprints on the ground. Ask questions such as “How many footprints is it from the tree to the shed?”

· Cover a cake tin and label the outside with numbers. Fill the tin with pegs. Children clip the correct number of pegs to the side of the tin.

· Act out number rhymes with props.

· Recite number names in real life situations, for example, counting socks, money, eggs

· Share books involving numbers

· Share games involving counting and numbers

· Use small world equipment for counting and calculating: - How many pigs do you think will fit in the pen? - There are 3 people in the house, 2 in the garden. How many people altogether? - Problem solving: Are there enough beds for the dolls?

· Use construction kits for counting and calculating: - Making towers of a given number. Calculating how many if one or two more are added or taken away - Estimating how many blocks might be needed to make a road

·Use the outdoor environment to develop mathematical concepts: - counting physical movements (use of dice) - using small apparatus: counting bounces, aiming beanbags into hoop with numeral attached, recording scores - playing skittles, recording scores - making collections and counting, comparing quantities, for example, conkers, leaves etc

· play dice games - roll the dice and perform that many actions/find that many objects

· cooking activities - estimating, counting ingredients - problem solving, for example, dividing cake between a number of

· Number poems and rhymes

· Outdoor markings, for example, hopscotch, number tracks, targets