• Model comparing numbers in problems about fair shares.


  • Play games such as hide and seek that involve counting, forwards and backwards.
  • Talk with children about the strategies they have used to solve a problem. Spot opportunities to playfully pose composition problems for children to explore.


  • Discuss the order of numbers in context, e.g. finding a page number.
  • Enjoy subitising games and sustained shared thinking about number, indoors and outdoors.
  • Encourage cardinal counting by saying how many there are after counting (…6, 7, 8.  There are 8 balls).
  • In everyday activities, ask children to count out a number of things from a group (e.g. Could you get seven cups for snacktime?)
  • Encourage children to make predictions and visualise the outcome in stories, rhymes and songs if one (or two) is added or taken away.
  • Talk to children about the marks and signs they use to represent and communicate their thinking. As appropriate, model and discuss informal and standard ways (e.g. using arrows, plus and minus signs).
  • Begin to model calculations in mathematical stories and number rhymes and in real contexts, using a range of ways of representing (e.g. five-frames).  Use both informal and standard ways to record these, including tallies and symbols. Discuss children’s own graphical strategies to solve problems, using some vocabulary of addition and subtraction.

Spatial Awareness

  • Encourage the use of relative terms (in front of, behind, before and after, in a line, next to and between).
  • Encourage children to explore what can be seen from different viewpoints.
  • Encourage children to describe position and give directions in play and in everyday routines.
  • Encourage children to create scaled-down models such as in small world play.
  • When children are fitting shapes into an outline or making a model from a 2D picture, help them to select more spatially challenging activities.
  • Encourage children to make maps of routes they have walked or travelled in some way.


  • Encourage children to use the names of shapes and their properties (e.g. straight, curved, edges) and prompt them to say what shapes remind them of.
  • Discuss different examples of the same shape (e.g. equilateral and right-angled triangles) in a variety of orientations.
  • Take opportunities to discuss the shapes that children paint, draw and collage and shapes noticed in their local environment using regular shapes and shapes with no name.
  • When acting out their own stories encourage children to make the shapes involved on their own or with others.
  • When constructing, sensitively discuss which shapes make other shapes (e.g. triangles making rectangles and hexagons with pattern blocks or mosaic tiles).
  • Challenge children to make more complex constructions such as towers of arches, a window or a staircase.


  • Encourage children to notice and appreciate a range of patterns involving repetition and symmetry in the environment, including traditional patterns from a range of cultures.
  • Model using symbols to represent a pattern in other ways (e.g. using a spot/cross/dash pattern of symbols and doing a twirl/jump/glide in response).
  • Make deliberate mistakes when creating patterns alongside children and playfully challenge them to fix the problem.
  • Make border patterns where the repeating pattern continues around an object or frame.


  • When comparing the length, weight and capacity of things in play and everyday activities, encourage children to predict and give reasons.
  • Discuss accuracy, for instance matching ends or starting points, balancing exactly or “fullness”.
  • Support timed challenges by timing runs, trails, obstacle courses, etc. and teach children how to use the stopwatch.
  • Discuss the order and sequence of events in routines and role play using the language of time (first, then, after, before, next, sooner, later).
  • Draw children’s attention to visual timetables and clock times, focusing on the hour hand.