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By Karen Harteducational writer

Engaging natural curiosity is the secret to getting children excited in number work and showing that numbers have meaning and purpose is the secret to engaging that curiosity.

The following activities are all designed to show how we count, write and use numbers in practical activities, while having loads of fun – the very best way to learn!

In this article:

  1. Prickly numbers
  2. Fruit salad
  3. Number biscuits
  4. Where are the mice?
  5. Playground numbers
  6. Circle time rhymes
  7. Memory number card game

Prickly numbers

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
Numbers as labels and for counting

Cut large numbers out of sheets of smooth sandpaper and glue to cards – A3 size is ideal. Use these cards for one-to-one work, with children asked to hunt for a particular number card from a pile or asked to trace a number with a finger; older children can try to write the number traced

An activity better suited to children not yet at the copying stage would be using paper and chunky crayons to produce rubbings of the numbers on the cards.

For a variation on this activity, try using a selection of different textured materials to make the numbers. Some ideas here could be: velvet, carpet tiles, corduroy, felt, fur fabric and little mosaic tiles. Just make sure the number’s edges are kept crisp and clear, so their shapes are easily defined. These tactile number cards work well at the early learning stage, when a more tactile approach to number recognition often proves more successful.

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Fruit salad

Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy
Numbers as labels and for counting

Make as many fruit pictures from the Activity sheet , ‘Fruit flashcards’ as you need for the size of your group – about five cards per child is about right. Cut all cards in half, mix up and place around the playground, or if the weather is poor, the school hall or a large space. Explain to children that they need to look for two matching halves to make a complete picture and demonstrate. Once all cards have been matched, count up who has found the most complete cards – the winner!

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