Making a maths story box

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By Mercia Leenumeracy consultant at Worcestershire County Council

It’s fun, creative, involving and compulsive! Mercia Lee takes on the Numeracy Hour with the help of a good book…

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Some years ago, before ‘story sacks’ became popular, I began to realise the potential that stories have to support young children’s mathematical learning. Many stories are far too rich a resource to be confined to literacy activities or ‘story time’. I started looking at some of the stories that were favourites with the children I was teaching and began putting together boxes of items linked to the stories and using them to support my planned maths teaching.

My first story box was based on ‘The Three Bears’. I collected three different-sized soft toy bears, three appropriately-sized chairs, spoons and dishes, and a rag doll ‘Goldilocks’. I decorated a box to keep the story book and props in, and used it with the youngest children to help them count and recognise numbers to 3 and develop their understanding of the vocabulary of comparative size. Since then, many other boxes have followed. I’m still discovering story books and collecting props for them (it becomes compulsive, so beware!). However, it’s also hugely enjoyable.

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