If you were to link anything with young children, it’s more than likely that ‘play’ would be one of the first things to come to mind. In fact, ‘play’ is more than just a fun activity: it also serves an important purpose, with explorative play forming a key component in young children’s overall development!
Luckily, there are plenty of EYFS maths activities out there to supplement a young child’s learning experience. Below, we explore some of the more notable activities that anyone can try.
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The importance of EYFS educational games
Children in EYFS span up to the age of five, which – as you might imagine – is an extremely formative period. It’s the stage where we come to discover how the world works and familiarise ourselves with communication, socialising, and motor skills. Then school comes along, and we take our first steps into the world of education.
However, maths can seem like a particularly intimidating area for many young learners. While we all encounter maths during our daily lives in one way or another, some may find it to be an abstract concept. If not approached in the right way, it can seem completely alien.
But luckily, as we’ve touched upon, kids love to play. It’s the perfect way for children to develop their language skills, their creativity, and their intellectual and social abilities. While adults may have to help with some more complex games, most young children find play to be organic and spontaneous, increasing their engagement and interest in the activities.
So, introducing a new subject under the guise of play isn’t just a great way to help children be more open and receptive. They’ll also find it easier to retain and recall the information they’ve picked up from the games they’ve engaged in!
Therefore, EYFS maths activities are a great way to supplement any young child’s learning experience. And as kids have been playing for thousands of years, it’s no surprise that teachers have meticulously crafted engaging games that can draw children in, while also producing some significant learning outcomes. For young learners, EYFS maths activities are the ideal introduction to their learning journey!
Indoor EYFS activities
To make this clearer, let’s break up the activities into two sections: indoor and outdoor. Dynamic learning is important, and this includes the environments that children learn within too. When inside of the classroom – or anywhere indoors, for that matter – there are some great games that you can have a go at, such as:
Choose two: LEGO maths game
To set up this LEGO maths game, simply find any container and fill it with LEGO pieces. Try your best to grab as many different shapes and sizes as possible. If you want, find a LEGO base plate to make organisation easier. Otherwise, all you’ll need is a pencil and a piece of paper.
Now, have children close their eyes and grab two LEGO bricks from the container. For example, they may pull out a brick with four studs and a brick with two studs. Then, have them add or subtract the studs on their piece of paper. This activity is simple but effective, as kids love any chance to play with LEGO, regardless of the activity!
Doodle scavenger hunt
It’s a fact: children love fun, interactive activities. And whether it’s moving shapes around a screen or tapping colourful icons, our award-winning DoodleMaths app has you covered!
This activity is ideal for four and five-year-olds. To get started, download DoodleMaths onto a tablet or phone, or visit students.doodlelearning.com on a laptop. Then, ask each child to find a specific number of items (e.g. ‘Find four pencils’). Once they’ve found them, ask them to complete the same number of activities in DoodleMaths.
With engaging exercises and games to choose from, they’ll complete their activities in no time at all – and they can even use the stars they earn for their hard work to build their very own robot!
DoodleMaths is ideal for EYFS children, with audio dictation and hints available for every question. And best of all, you can try it for absolutely free.
Find the missing number
For this EYFS maths activity, you’ll need craft sticks, felt tip pens, and clothes pegs. Write number sequences on the sticks, remembering to leave some blank spaces at various points. Now, write any missing numbers on the pegs and distribute them out to the participating children.
Then, the kids are able to pin the pegs on the blank spaces of the craft sticks! This is not only great for sequencing and number recognition, but it’ll help tune their fine motor skills as well.
Splat the number!
This is a simple but engaging game that’s bound to get EYFS children excited. What you’ll need is a die or two, post-it notes, and a fly swatter. Arrange the post-it notes labelled with various numbers in front of the participating children. Have them roll the die (or dice) and then swat the number in front of them.
If your kids love a bit of competition (and can handle the excitement) have them play against each other, seeing who can swat the number first. This simple game is a great way to have children test their reaction times in relation to numbers, which will prove handy in their later academic years.
Outdoor EYFS activities
When outside, young children are naturally going to be more stimulated and excited about the task at hand. Skittles is a great EYFS outdoor activity that can help improve number recognition and motor skills at the same time. After buying a set similar to this, you’ll be able to set up a variety of dynamic maths activities.
For example, set up the skittles, then have participating children take turns to knock as many down as they can. If the number 2 and 4 fell down, have them add or subtract the numbers that toppled over. For even younger kids, only use smaller numbers, then work your way up based on their level of readiness.
Number line hopscotch
This one’s easy to do and plenty of fun. Simply go outside, grab a piece of chalk, and draw a number line on the asphalt. Begin with 0, then go upwards as far as you think is necessary. You could even make use of large foam dice to add another level to it.
Encourage activities such as hopping over numbers, then adding up what they missed, or seeing how far they can jump, then after two jumps adding or subtracting the amount. There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the humble chalk and concrete!
Squirt the numbers!
What you’ll need here is access to a hose or some water pistols, some empty cans or kitchen roll tubes, and a felt tip pen. It’s no secret that kids love spraying water, and this game leverages that to the fullest extent. Simply arrange the cans or tubes somewhere elevated (such as a table) ensuring that each one has been labelled with a number.
Now, have the children step up and spray them! Try to encourage them not to knock every single one down at once. Then, organise some sums or subtractions that the child can tackle with the fallen cans or tubes. You could even have two participants trying to reach a total, taking it in turns to spray numbers until reaching their goal!
Ultimately, younger children love dynamic, engaging play. Using a combination of the activities we’ve gone over – and searching for even more out there – you’ll gain the most out of everything that EYFS maths activities have to offer. This explorative fun is the perfect introduction for young children, so take full advantage of it!
For even more ways to explore EYFS maths, be sure to give DoodleMaths a try. Created by our team of teachers and education specialists, it’s filled with engaging exercises covering all core curriculum areas, making it the perfect way to introduce young learners to the subject! Try it for free today.