Comparison/ Counting

  • Provide buckets and bags for children to create collections of objects which they can count.
  • Provide mark-making materials indoors and outdoors for children to represent their own ideas in play.

Cardinality (How many?)

  • Provide opportunities for children to explore cardinality in the environment using self-correcting resources, e.g. jigsaw with two ducks and the number two, or displays showing the numeral and the number of items.
  • Sing counting songs and rhymes which help to develop children’s understanding of number.
  • Say the counting sequence going to higher numbers, in a variety of contexts, indoors and out, and sometimes counting backwards.

Spatial Awareness

  • Design outdoor spaces where children can learn through a variety of spatial experiences (going under, over, around, on top, through) and hear spatial language in context.
  • Encourage children to freely communicate their mathematical thinking through gesture, talk and graphical signs.
  • Plan stimulating indoor and outdoor spaces where children make choices about where to go and create their own routes. Provide materials to create trails.
  • Provide resources for transporting. 


  • Provide a range of inset and jigsaw puzzles of increasing complexity for children to choose.
  • Provide a variety of construction materials including some with identical pieces so that children freely explore same and different.


  • Provide a range of natural and everyday materials, as well as blocks and shapes, with which to make patterns.
  • Plan opportunities for children to experience pattern such as percussion, music and action games that involve repeated sounds or actions.


  • Provide similar items of contrasting sizes so that children have many opportunities to encounter the language of size.
  • Provide resources with clearly different weights to support direct comparison, and something to carry them in.
  • Provide equipment with varied capacities and shapes in the sand, water, mud kitchen and role play areas.