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Outdoor Maths Play

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Outdoor Maths Play


By Sheila O’Reilly

Instagram: @rascals_and_rainbows

8 weeks into Lockdown and Home Learning is still going strong (fuelled by copious amounts of coffee for mummy and some sweet treats for my little rascals!). It’s definitely a more successful experience when learning is activity-based and lots of fun. 



With plenty of dry, sunny days I was eager to take our learning outdoors as much as possible and the TickitEducation Bean bags are perfect for outdoor number play.  My girls are 3 and 6 so I can organised different activities suited to their ages. They play so well together. When little sis is completing an activity, big sis loves to play teacher (don’t know where she gets that from😅) and when it’s an activity more suited to my six year old, her little sister is always keen to watch and copy her.

Preschool games and activities include:

* Number match. Draw numbers on the ground with chalk and she simply had to match the bean bags to the correct numeral.


* Count and Match. A similar idea, but this time using loose parts like stones, shells or toys. Choose the correct number of objects to match to each number beanbag.

* Number Hunt.  Hide the beanbags around the garden. Collect all the bean bags 1-10 in a bucket. If working with a preschooler maybe only using 1-5 initially. As an extension, once all the bean bags have been collected, you could ask your child to order them correctly from 1-10.

* Number Stomp. A fun activity to combine number recognition and gross motor skills. Set out the number bean bags on the ground and call out a number. Your child must jump /hop/skip to the correct number.

* Number balance. Another fun activity combining gross motor skills and number recognition is using a slotted turner to balance the bean bag. Give your child a number to choose and they must find the correct bean bag, balance it on their slotted turner and walk across and drop it in the container at the other end of the garden.


* Kim’s Game. Using our bean bags for a version of Kim’s Game. Set out the bean bags for your child to look at. They have to cover their eyes while you remove one bean bag and then figure out which number is missing.

* Ordering numbers. Set out the bean bags from 1-5 in jumbled order and ask your child to put into correct order. Extend to 1-10 when they are confident ordering 1-5.


* Number Values. Ask your child to choose the bean bag one more/bigger than/one less/smaller than. They could use the slotted turner or a fly swat to hit the correct bean bag. 


Primary School number activities:

* Odd/Even Numbers target practice. Use two hoops or make two rings with skipping ropes. Label one odd and one even. Ask your child to throw the number bean bags into the correct hoop. Make sure they stand at a distance, so incorporating gross motor development into the activity.


* Number bonds balance. Write numbers on the ground with chalk. Ask your child to make different totals by choosing a bean bag partner for each number. Your child must choose the correct bean bag, balance on their head and walk to the correct number partner. E.g. Make 7. Number 5 drawn on the ground so they must choose the number 2 bean bag to balance on their head and pair up.

* Practical Subtraction. Use loose parts to make numbers to match the bean bags and practically take away to find answers.

* Mental maths games. An opportunity to explore mathematical language including  more than/less than, find the difference, take away, minus, altogether, plus, total, equals etc. For example, ask your child to ‘Hop on the bag 2 more than 4’ or ‘Find the difference between 4 and 6. Hop on the answer bean bag.’ 


* Number bonds throw and catch. Another activity to reinforce number bonds. One number drawn on the ground or wall with chalk. Choose the correct partner to make 10. Throw in the air and catch shouting the number. 

* Number Stomp and Number Balance outlined in the preschool activities could also be adapted for older children to reinforce number bonds and subtraction within 10.  


I hope this blog has given you some ideas for outdoor Maths fun for the coming weeks. If you are in need of inspiration for home learning and play activities, please check out my Instagram account @rascals_and_rainbows 😍🌈.

Thank you to Sheila and the girls for sharing some great learning ideas  

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  1. Heidi

    So many great ideas here x

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