Building Maths Skills

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hi all

Young children are very inquisitive and natural problem solvers.  They learn to walk and talk by having a desire to attain their goal, by mimicking others, by trying things out, by making lots of mistakes and adjusting strategies accordingly, and by gradually gaining in confidence. 

Activities and play based around building allow children not only to be imaginative but also encourage their mathematical thinking and reasoning. Early maths skills are not only critical to ensuring that children gain the tools he or she needs to perform well academically, they are also the ‘building blocks’ for the development of rational and logical thought processes. As well as these mathematical skills other areas of a child’s development are encouraged such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, social and language skills. Therefore building and construction are essential to a young child’s play and learning.

The possibilities for building and construction activities and play are endless and children of all ages love them. These are a few suggested activities for young children:

  • Outdoor learning – go in search of lots of natural objects such as logs, stones   and twigs. Let children’s imaginations run wild building all sorts of structures! With Autumn approaching you could even encourage them to build an ‘animal home’ in time for those ready to hibernate.
  • Bring in an element of Literacy and link to the ‘Three Little Pigs’. Read the story and allow children to build mini straw, stick and brick houses! Whose will be the strongest and which one will fall down!
  • Fill your construction area with everyday resources such as cardboard boxes, tubes and fabric, along with different methods of joining such as sellotape, glue and string. Allow them to explore and watch and see what they create!
  • To develop their understanding of shape, such as recognition and properties, build with 2D and 3D shapes.

Allowing children to build and construct freely will really get their imaginations flowing and by posing questions to them such as ‘how can you make your structure taller’ you are able to extend that mathematical thinking.

See below for a product selection of resources to support these

Development Matters Early Years Foundation Stage:

Maths – Space, Shape and Measure

(30-50 months):

  • Shows interest in shape by sustained construction activity or by talking about shapes or arrangements.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and Using Media and Materials (30-50 months):
  • Uses various construction materials.
  • Beginning to construct, stacking blocks vertically and horizontally, making enclosures and creating spaces.
  • Joins construction pieces together to build and balance.

(40-60 months):

  • Constructs with a purpose in mind, using a variety of  resources.
  • Uses simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately.

Geometric Shapes Building Set

This child-friendly set for ages 5+ features soft pieces including simple connectors, and unique curves for making circles and cylinders. Great for making 2D and 3D shapes.

Dive into Shapes! A “Sea” and Build Geometry Set

This sea-themed set includes 80 sticks and curves, 40 connectors and 15 double-sided activity cards suitable for children aged 6+.

For younger learners:

Candy Construction™

Help little engineers think critically as the build sturdy and sweet structures! Includes chunks, durable sweet-themed pieces in a variety of fun, familiar designs. Perfect for ages 4+.

If you have any questions about ‘building’ maths skills, please get in touch!



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