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Hiya There :D


I work in a nursery school as part of my college placement and I have a target group of children. The group used to include 14 children but has just been decreased to 9 because they have made fab progress :o . The children are aged 3 - 4 years.

I work with them to help increase their number recognition and counting.

I need some ideas for fun learning activities that will acheive my aim. I really don't want to resort to worksheets xD


Any ideas will be greatly appreciated...

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We use lots of number rhymes. I also collect sets of toys from charity shops for the children to use. make numbers from laminated paper and elastic to put around the objects.

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Guest alisonjayne


we use lots of number rhymes, also large laminated numbers which can be used in a variety of ways eg on washing line in order 1-10 or 10-1. counting, getting children to put numbers/children in order. playdough is great too making numerals or sets of things I made some leaves and the children made caterpillars to go on each leaf they really enjoyed this. Will try to think of more ideas later

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Hi Jinger

what about using the little washbags you get with washing powder. We've laminated number/spot tags and attached them onto the bag. The children then have to count out a given set and another has to check them. Sometimes I put too many or too few in so that they have to check.


Good old number bingo is a great way of recognising numerals both using spots and numbers for differentiation.


Like Mimi we too use lots of toys collected from various jumble sales and car boots (they love the bag of dinosaurs) and all those McDonalds toys are great for sorting and pattern making (1 piglet, 2 poohs, 1 piglet, 2 poohs etc) :)

When using the toys on the carpet, I'll put a line of masking tape down and use this as our counting line; great for 1-1 correspondence


hope this helps (and yes I totally agree... keep away from worksheets... especially in ones so young :o _

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If you have space outdoors you could try chalking numerals on the ground. We did this randomly on paving squares then asked children to come one by one and jump on the numbers and say them. Then we asked them to try and get the numbers into the correct order counting up. They thought it was great fun. Recently I also chalked key words onto the playground, and circled them you could do that with numbers too. The children had to run, jump, hop, skip, walk backwards to a given number. They also rode to them on bikes and took dolls 'their babies' :o to try and read them in pushchairs.


Have fun!



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colored pegs on a plate, can be matched, sequences, counted

number written on plate to count correct number of pegs around edge.

bigger and smaller sizes pegs,


sox, long, short, pairs, same, different, particularly with 2 or 3 pairs the same. peg on line for counting


number rhymes with props - our childrne love the elephant rhyme at present and this one adds which is unusual... anyone any more adding rhymes?



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We do quite a lot of printing and counting - with either adult or child writing the numerals with my special "marker" pen - (why is it that this always holds so much attention) - younger ones can match numbers against laminated number sheets or point to ones they would like to put on.

As someone said washing line - I use all my odd sox for them to hang alongside the number - biggest problem is that I don't have enough high numbers to match the 50 odd sox I've collected in the last year!!!!! Brick building again with laminated sheets. Fruit Time - breaking and counting the number of segments of a satsuma, counting the pips in a watermelon - good fun as the evidence can be eaten, number jigsaws etc


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Another adding rhyme which I use in circle time;


One child stands up

One child claps hands

One child turns around

And then sits down.



The child then chooses another child to join him and the rhyme continues;

2 children stand up

2 children clap hands etc etc


The rhyme can continue for as long as you like!



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We clap out our names and compare how many claps for each, and who has the same, more or less. Ma - ri - a, Thom - as, :D

They're getting really good :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm gobsmacked by all your fab ideas!!!! :o

Thank you all very much for your brilliant ideas, some ideas are very similar to what we are already doing and so many I wouldn't have even thought of myself.

I really appreciate you all taking the time to reply - Thanks again :D

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Hmmm..... Love doing maths with edible things like party pack smarties or raisins in those little boxes.

How many smarties in your box? Sort the smarties into colours, how many colours, which colour has the most, which has the least. Eat one smartie from each colour, how many now........... Raisins work too but not always as appealing!

Icing sugar sieved on a coloured mat. Lick your finger and do 1 circle, 2 circles etc. Lots of licks later, can you do a square - it needs 4 corners, can you do a triangle....

Good luck!

These activities do encourage the most reluctant children!!!

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