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Ty Gwyn Special School

"Learning To Achieve"

Everyday Mathematical Development

Opportunities to develop number skills are everywhere  smiley


  • You can count:- the stairs when going up to bed, places at the table, how many pieces of cutlery, how many pieces of fruit etc, the possibilities are endless.


  • Add letters and numbers to play activities- for example:


  1. Find the magnetic letters/numbers in messy play activities
  2. Write letters/numbers on building blocks
  3.  Write letters/numbers on paper with a white crayon, when kids paint with watercolour paint the writing will appear
  4. Write numbers on paper, when they are using their dab pens encourage them to dab on the numbers. You could even decorate each number with as many dots as the number. Now, kids can touch each dot with their dab pen and see the number and the quantity all together. 


  • Bath time- pouring from one container to another, filling different vessels, squeeze out sponge, explore which items float/sink. 


  • Cooking - combines elements of sensory play (exploring ingredients, washing vegetables for dinner in a bowl, mixing and rolling), mathematical concepts (measuring and pouring) , home safety, and following processes. Pretend cooking, serving, and shops, are also great play scenarios teaching basic mathematical ideas as well as social interaction.


  •  Tidying up- support children to put similar items together , match lids to saucepans etc.


  • Laundry- sorting by colour, sorting by type e.g. matching socks, big shirt / small shirt. 



  • Discovery basket - this is a basket that you fill with ordinary non-hazardous items for your child to explore. Children are naturally inclined to explore and investigate to develop their own understanding and knowledge. Through exploring safe items that stimulate the senses, children are storing and retaining information about texture, taste, sound, appearance and scent. Theme them for different rooms in the house e.g. kitchen basket could include: wooden spoon, colander, whisk, spatula. Bathroom basket could include: flannel, wet and dry sponges, comb, nail brush (there are lots more ideas for items here  


  • Sand play - is a fantastic opportunity for the foundations of scientific learning and physical development.
  1. Encourage scooping, digging, pouring and sifting.
  2. Playing alongside a parent or sibling it can teach about teamwork, sharing and social skills
  3. Use simple mathematical language, e.g. heavy, light, empty, full, big, little
  4. Make shapes and patterns
  5. Provide boxes and materials of different shapes and sizes to compare weight and quantity, how much will containers hold
  6. Look at the differences between wet and dry.



  • Songs and nursery rhymes - sing throughout the day, using well-known songs that they may hear a lot such as ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, will help the children memorize certain vocabulary. Singing and music hugely help to develop language and form the basis of literacy skills, as well as basic mathematical concepts such as counting. Furthermore, they begin to develop rhythm, whilst also refining their listening skills.


  • Play Dough - has immense potential for learning,  it teaches and improves fine motor skills, creativity, and hand-eye coordination. Threading large beads on to lengths of dried spaghetti held in the dough could add more fine motor learning to the task. 


  • Blocks, Jigsaws, and Shape Sorters - lay the foundations of spatial thinking, logical reasoning, ordering, and recognising various shapes, sizes, and colours. Reinforce this learning by using simple colour and shape words. 


  • Play object hide and seek: Play with the toy with your child, after a few minutes tell your child it is 'your turn' and then hide the toy near to the child under a blanket. Encourage your child to find the hidden toy


  • Lots of noisy toys and moving toys - develop awareness that when the toy makes a sound/moves that they have caused that to happen. 


  • Play with cars / trains etc rolling them down a ramp, putting one car on at a time. You can also develop turn taking skills through this activity.


  • Putting toys / objects into boxes - encouraging your child to put one object in at a time. You could also count the objects with your child. 


  • water play / messy play - put objects in water or messy play and encourage your child to take them out / put them in one at a time.


  • Use toys to develop awareness of prepositions 'on', 'in', 'out', 'off' - e.g. Play with your child with a doll - model putting the doll 'on' a chair, verbalising to your child that that is what you are doing.
A counting worksheet to print or write your answers on paper or using your Eyegaze (SD, AO)
Print and cut the pictures out to use for matching- either turn the pictures over and play pairs, show the pupil a picture and get them to find matching or show them a picture and give them 2 options to choose from
A print at home size ordering activitiy

Pom Pom counting reinforcing numbers