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Non screen ideas

Show fingers as you sing or say the rhymes

Numbers all around


  • Look for numbers around the house. Look in books and on letters for your grown ups. Look on TV adverts. Notice numbers on the pages of a story book. Look at numbers on the remote control. How many did you spot? Can you or your grown up write them down?


  • Go on a number hunt on your walk. How many numbers can you find? Look for them on car number plates, on houses, on signs. Take photographs to look at when you get home. Then think about the following…

           Do you know any of the numbers?

What number is your house?

Can you find a number which is the same as your age? Your grown up’s age? Your brother or sister’s age?

What was the biggest number you found? (grown ups will need to help with this one!)


  • Make your own number line. Start with numbers that you know, like your age. Which other numbers do you know? Your grown up might need to help you with some other numbers. What does your number line go up to?


  • Make numbers in lots of ways…

-from playdough

-with paint

-with fingers and paint

-with chalk outside

-with sticks and pebbles

-with paintbrushes and water-huge numbers!

-write them in the air with your fingers, with both hands

-write them with your tongue in the air!


This is called a multi sensory approach to learning, when children are doing things in lots of different ways. It helps them to embed the learning


  • Make your own number book. Staple pages together or use sticky tape.  Write the number then draw the correct number of your favourite things or cut them out and stick them in. Don’t worry if the book doesn’t start with 1!


  • Look on the screen ideas page for a video of how to form numbers correctly


It’s worth remembering that children are not expected to be recognising numbers to 10 and beyond until the end of Reception. Recognising numbers in Nursery is all done through play and children’s interests, and often they want to talk about and look at numbers which interest them eg their age or their house number. Start with what they know and build on that.


Let’s Count


Counting is a really important skill. Before children can count objects, they need to learn the number names in order. Singing number rhymes really helps with this. Then once children know the number names in order they can practise counting everywhere they go!

  • Count the stairs as you go up and down  them
  • Count your toys as you put them away
  • Count steps an your walk
  • Count jumps/hops around the garden
  • Count cars when you go out


Grown ups need to support children in giving one number name to each action or object. This is called one-to-one correspondence. If children get muddled, just model it in the right way, so they can hear the correct order of numbers.


When children are counting objects, it helps them if they move them as they count them. That way they don't count them twice!




Subitizing means looking at a number of objects and saying how many there are without counting them. This is a really important skill to develop. Many young children can do this with groups of up to 3 or 4.


Ideas for subitizing

  • In Nursery we teach this a lot with our fingers. Show me 1. Show me 3. Show me 5 etc. Children can do this without counting (I always tell them there’s no need to count all the fingers on one hand, we know there are always 5!) Ask your child to show you different sets of numbers with fingers. Then can they show you a different way of making that number? This is something we do every day at Welcome Time (see video on screen ideas page) On your number hunt, find a number and show that many fingers without counting!


  • Games with dice a brilliant for subitising. Roll the dice and “recognise” how many spots without counting.

Make up your own games, eg roll a dice and do that many jumps, hops, steps etc


  • Dominoes is another good game which develops subitising


  • Put out a small number of counters or pennies (all the same size) Let your child look (not count), then cover them up. What did you see? How many? You can put the pennies/counters out in different arrangements each time. Eg you might put 3 together and 1 to the side. If your child says “I saw 3 and 1” this is great! Early addition skills! Then let them be the teacher and cover up the items


  • You could build up to then looking at a number of items and matching the correct numeral to it.