The 3rd of February is National Number Day! Organised by the NSPCC, the day is a nationwide maths fundraising event for young people of all ages and is even supported by Countdown presenter and mathematician, Rachel Riley:
“Number Day is a great way to get children engaged with maths, and on top of that, they’ll be raising money for the NSPCC. Teachers have a huge part to play in inspiring the next generation of mathematicians so I hope that on 5 February, children in schools across the UK will be putting on their thinking caps and having fun with numbers. Let the countdown to Number Day begin!”
Rachel Riley / TV Presenter
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, and to get in the spirit of things we are sharing some of our top tips to improve number recognition and inspire your young learners at home!
Numbers in a tray
This activity is ideal for children who are just beginning to learn about number formation. Involving tactile learning and messy play you will need shaving foam or sand, a shallow tray and some number cut outs. Fill the shallow tray half way with shaving foam or sand and use this to draw out the shape of numbers. If at any point you want to start again the tray can easily be transformed back into a blank canvas! This exercise can be made more challenging by taking away the number cut outs to draw from memory.
Fishing for numbers
Head on down to the number pond! This activity is great for adding some role play and discovery to number activities. You will need household materials such as straws, string and paper clips to build your very own fishing line. Attach the paper clip to the end of the string to act as the hook to attract magnetic numbers! Fill a large bowl or tray with blue tissue paper to represent the water, hide some magnetic numbers within it and begin your fishing adventure! Imaginative play can also be introduced by creating characters and a setting for the game, keeping little ones engaged. Each time a number is pulled out it can be said aloud and written down,
Helping little ones make the connection between the how numbers are said and how they are written. The game can also be made more challenging by adding magnetic letters into the mix.
Sorting and matching
Simple sorting and matching activities combine counting with colours, attributes and fine motor skills helping little ones to develop a whole range of early maths skills. Sandpits are a great way to incorporate a treasure-hunt theme and imaginative play to sorting activities. Counters that can be sorted by colour, number and attribute offer opportunities for different ways to play! Household items such as cups and trays can be labelled with a number, challenging children to fill them with the correct number of counters.
Roll the dice
Dice are a fun and easy way for children to begin to recognise iconic patterns and associate them with numbers and numeral. Simple games are easy to invent such as adding/subtracting the numbers shown on two dice or adding up each dice roll to race to make a certain number. Activities with dice also help little ones become fluent with number bonds to and within six and to understand the associated language of ‘how many more?’ Try using jumbo sized foam dice for a giant sized way to roll some fun into number activities and keep the noise levels down!
When the little ones need to burn off some steam, why not encourage learning with some active number games? If you have an outdoor garden space, label areas of the garden from 1-6, roll a dice and race to get to the corresponding number. You could also do a number hunt, hiding giant numbers in the house or garden. The player who can add up their numbers to make the highest number at the end of the hunt is the winner!
- Smart Toss Early Skills Activity Set, ideal for ages 3+!
- Magnetic Letters Numbers and Shapes, great for classrooms!
- Super Sorting Pie, perfect for early counting and sorting skills
- Giant Soft Dot Cubes, ideal for quiet number games
- Tactile Numbers, perfect for messy trays!
We hope these ideas provide you with some number inspiration around the home. We’d love to hear how you are using numbers today either at home or at school. Join the conversation using @LRUK using the hash tag #numberday