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Maths  - What do Y1 Mathematician usually focus on?

Over the year under normal circumstances we would work on the following areas of Maths:


- Number & Place Value

- Addition and Subtraction

- Multiplication and Division

- Fractions

- Measurement

- Properties of Shapes

- Position and Direction. 


Within each area we cover specific things.

If you want to see the skills within each area please click here. 


Please find below some games and non-screen activities you could use to introduce these things. 


Maths Ideas 



Number & Place Value


1. 100-item necklaces Get kids counting by having them count out 100 items, such as cereal, sweets, beads, or something else that can be strung.

They can then string items onto a necklace, creating a unique treasure.  


Click here if for more ideas like this     


Sport is another good way to count. Count laps, bounces of a ball, bounces on a trampoline etc. 


Or play an estimation game Fill up various jars and containers with different items. Some should contain 100 items, while others should contain more or less. Kids will then try to figure out which jars have 100 items! They can then empty them and check arranging the objects in groups of 10.          


2.Learn how to skip count with the following activities 


Skip count pointillism 


Skip counting hopscotch 


Ideas for making your own poster to help you count at bedtime 


Other ideas for skip counting 

2. Grab like a crab 


Grab a handful of leaves/pebbles/petals/pasta/beans quickly just like a crab


-arrange into tens frames shapes to count them.


Work out what one more than your number is. 

Work out  what one less than your number is. 



<-You can also arrange them using bundles of tens and then the remaining ones. 


3. Firehose number game 

Call out numbers for your child to write on the floor, wall, fence. 


You can adapt it to suit English too! Just write words, sounds or letters instead of humbers. If you do not have a water pistol, use a hose but please be considerate of your neighbours on the other side of the fence.


If you are indoors, why not play number hide and seek. Just write numbers to 100 on separate pieces of paper and hide them around the house. You could write a mixture of numbers and number words for them to find and match together. 


4. Play this game Greater Than/Less Than


5. Learn about numbers and number words to 20


Use a camera to take photos of digits in the house/out and about front doors, post boxes, road signs etc. Can you find all the numbers from 1 to 30?


Can you find any numbers written as words?





Addition & Subtraction

1. Bowling Alley

Set up a toy bowling pin set (or make one from plastic bottles or toilet paper tubes). Kids bowl and see how many pins they knock down, subtracting that number from 10. Then they repeat. They write a subtraction starting with the previous answer. First to get to zero wins!


2. Have a snowball fight

Make “snowballs” from paper (or any way you like), then place them in a bucket at one end of the room.


Start kids out by having them toss snowballs into another bucket until they reach 10 (or any target number).


Then, up the challenge by placing some snowballs in each bucket, and have kids figure out how many more they need to toss in to make 10.




3. Lego ways to make activity ....

Choose a total to create and find different ways to do it with Lego bricks 



Challenge - Play this game Addition with a Missing Addend


4. I-phone Dancemat 

Stick pieces of A4 paper together to create your telephone keypad. 

Call out totals to make e.g. Make 10. Ask your child to put their feet on 2 numbers that make that total. 

They could play with a sibling and play for points - fastest feet first wins providing the pair of numbers make the correct total. 

They can continue play independently - encourage them to decide on new totals. Can they find multiple ways to make a total? 




Multiplication & Division

1 . Counting in 5s and the 5 times table Salon. 


Draw around your hand.


Write in the middle how fingers (5 - include thumbs)


Explain you have drawn 1 group of 5 or 1 hand which has 5 fingers on it. Label it with the multiplication fact for them to see and explain what each number in the calculation means.


Draw around your hand again next to your last one. 

Writing in the middle how many fingers there are on your paper now.


Continue until you have 60 fingers on the paper. Adults you can have turns too to help with the drawing. 


 Decorate the nails with kids nail polish or pens. 


2.  Play socks in the box. You can find it by folloing the link below.


Count in 2s up to 24. 

Look at how many landed in the box. Peg them out on the washing line together or put the pairs in a line on the floor and count in  twos. You could label your pairs with post-it notes to make a number line. 



Learn the 2 times tables facts. 







3.  Make arrays in interesting ways 

Make arrays to show what happens when we count in 2s, 5s and 10s. These are the times tables that we start learning in year 1. 


Click on the link to find out how to play plum tree and how to make arrays. There is an illustrated step-by-step guide.


Find out more here


You could make arrays with play dough. 

You could plant seeds in trays to form arrays. 

You could make arrays by putting pasta in a bun tin or egg box. 





1. Ribbon game - Cut colourful ribbons into a variety of lengths and place them in a pillowcase. Take it in turns to pull a ribbon from the bag, then compare their ribbon with yours, identifying the longer one. The person with the longer ribbon keeps both, and the game continues. Encourage your child to talk about their ribbon using the terms long/short  and longer/shorter.


Other measurement ideas can be found here

2. Measure members of your house. Ask your child to lie on the floor. Mark above their head and below their feet. If you are struggling for space or distancing your child can measure the height of their soft toys. Use a ruler or tape measure to measure in cm. Talk with them about what they have found out. Encourage them to use the words tall and short, tallest and shortest.

Learn how to use a tape measure. 


3. Make a Lego city where each tower you make is double the size of your last tower. 



4. Make a measurement exploration area and weigh things. 


Help your child to know what the big marks on the scales go up in. Help them to see where 0 is. They aren't expected to read all marks on the scales for a while yet. 

Find out how here


Introduce your child to the bathroom scales if you have some.



5. Bake

Also see our creative page to find recipes you can use. Baking is an amazing way to bring in measuring and weighing.


6. Create your own balance scale with a coat hanger. 



7. Set up a tuck shop using the snacks your child would normally ask for in your cupboard. Write a price list for them. Give them their own 'pocket money' or you could involve them in jobs around the house to earn it.


They can use to buy their own snacks. Encourage them to look at the price list when they want a snack and bring you their money to buy a snack. 


Make all of the items the value of different coins. 

e.g. 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2


You could also

Collect toys and food packets and put price labels on them-use coins to make those amounts


Order coins according to size

Sort coins by colour - bronze, silver, gold, both gold and silver. 

Order according to value

Make amounts


8. Make a timetable of your day, make a diary or make a calendar. 

Talk about and draw different things you do over the course of the day.

What do you do in the morning? What about the afternoon?

Draw what you do at what time.

Make those times on a clock or draw them above or print some blank clocks if you are able to do so. (Label your activities with o'clock and half past times)


In your diary practise writing the days, the month and the year.

9. Time Quiz/ Stopwatch Challenge. 

Estimate how long it might take to do different things. 

- read a book

- stand on one leg

- wave 


There are cards you could write onto paper here.


Possible answers include - one second, one minute or one hour. 

The aim is to help children to gain a sense of how long a second, minute and hour is. 



Another great idea is the 100-Second Challenge – The 100-second challenge is easy! Set a timer for 100 seconds and challenge kids to complete a task during that time. This challenge could be anything, from seeing how far they can count to writing down as many words as they can.


(Also see the PE page for 60 second challenges)


10. Learn about clocks and make one of your own.


Dig out a watch or clock your child can have near to them. (analogue)


Make a clock and learn about where the numbers are on the clock. 

CD clock link

Clock hat template

Paper plate clock

Clock hat instructions

Bottle top clock

Other ideas for making a clock


Set alarms on your clock for o'clock times and half past times to help your child to notice them. 



11. Play a practical time game


There are 10 ideas here


Don't forget classics like Play 'What's time is it Mr Wolf' or 'Grandmother's Footsteps' using o'clock times or half past times. 




1. Get your child involved in making lunch or pretend you own a cafe or restaurant. Involve your child in making their own sandwiches, pizza or wrap. Can they create one that is half and half? Can they create one where each quarter has a different topping? You could also pretend to make these things with play dough. 


Find different foods to halve and quarter. Talk about which is the fairest way to split it? 

A strawberry is best halved from the top to the bottom (vertically) If you cut it horizontally the 2 people sharing it would get unequal parts. One part would be big and one would be small. 



2. Share sweets fairly between 2 or 4. Choose an even number of objects to halve. 

Choose a total in the 4 times table for quarters. 


3. Find lots of different containers. Fill them half full.

Can you fit the amount you have put in again and fill it?

Top tip - add blue food colouring to water or use squash to help you to see how much is in the containers more easily. 


Alternative - explore the capacity of different containers in your paddling pool or bath. 

4. Learn what quarters and halves are using paper plates or paper strips. 




5. Decorate an old pair of socks, slippers or gloves. Give an even number of stickers, sequins, buttons or other decorations. Share them between the 2 gloves or socks or slippers so that they match and there is an equal number on each. 



Properties of Shapes

1. Make shapes from play dough, lolly sticks, bread sticks or other spaghetti. 
2. Go on a shape hunt around the house for shapes. 

3. Draw 2D shapes and talk about how many sides and vertices the shapes have. Put glue on one side of the shape at a time to help your child notice where each side stops and starts. Stick sequins, grains of rice or whatever you can find on the glue to decorate your shape. You could use a different colour for each side.

4. Make a shape pet.


5. Draw roads in the shape of 2D shapes, draw them with chalk or make some from black electrical tape on the floor. Trace them with toy cars. Count the sides and corners together. 


6. Make a 3D shape Robot using junk. 
7. Push different surfaces of shapes into dough. What 2D shapes are hiding on the surface of a 3D shape?  E.g. On a cube you will be able to print lots of squares because each face on a cube is a square shape. 
8. Create shape pizzas. You will need to cut different shapes out of coloured paper to use as toppings. Talk together about the shapes you are topping you pizzas with. 
9. Shape construction. Tape or draw shapes for your child to build on. Use Lego, blocks, bottle tops, pebbles or pasta tubes to trace the shapes. 
10. Make a shape viewfinder out of card. Cover the gap with clingfilm, a plastic food bag, a plastic wallet or cellophane. Look for shapes through it. You could use the same technique to make your own photo frame for one of your photos or one of the pictures you have drawn. 

11. Create some Art like Kandinsky and hide in it lots of different 2D shapes. 


12. Build castles bridges and towers out of recycling or wooden blocks if you have these. 

Name and describe the shapes you used to build it. Sit back to back. Instruct another family member to build a tower, naming the shapes you want them to use. When you have finished ask them to reveal their tower and check to see if they followed your instructions correctly. 

13. Look for and label 3D shapes and 2D shapes in magazines or catalogues. 


Position and Direction


1. Play jungle directions/ cross the swamp.Work together with your child. Scatter a variety of equipment on the floor such as socks, cushions, plastic cups. You could label your socks as the 'bugs', your cushions the 'crocodiles' and the cups as 'dangerous insects' 


Guide your child, who has been blindfolded, through the jungle to the other side of the gym without stepping on anything. Then switch places if they make it to the other side or if they step on something.


You could do this activity without the blindfold. Make a grid using sheets of A4 paper and take it in turns to direct each other from  one side to the other. 


2. Toy Turns 

Tape a path on the floor. Be sure to use straight lines and right angle turns. No diagonals. Write or give instructions verbally. Can you start at the other end of the line and direct your toy back again.

Are your directions the same or different?

3. Teach your child the Macarena. It involves lots of quarter turns and the actions repeat. It is a fun way to work on turns. 

It might be helpful to mark/chalk a cross on the floor and get them to stand in the centre.


Practise some ballet pirouettes or spins. 

Show them how to do a quarter turn and stop before going too far. It might take several attempts before they stop going too far.  


When they have got the hang of quarter turns try half turns and full turns.