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Outdoor Maths Activities for Early Years
“What is mathematics? It is a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature”
– Shakuntala Devi
Taking Early Learning and Maths Outdoors
Looking for a more hands on approach to teaching maths? Summer is the perfect time to take mathematics outdoors! Try our outdoor maths activities to make outdoor learning fun and exciting.
Outdoors is the perfect setting for many cross-curricular early learning opportunities, as it encourages physical activity and sparks a greater curiosity.
Not only do children get the benefit of being out in the fresh air surrounded by a natural environment, they also get a break from being stuck indoors which is great for revitalising the mind. Taking maths outdoors provides more space for activities, is a great way to refresh the children’s learning environment and will also have a positive effect on their motivation and mood which in turn will enhance their learning and engagement. It also offers a wide range of creative learning opportunities, which allows you to explore and extend experiences.
We understand the importance of being outdoors for children’s mental, physical and emotional health so we’ve put together a list of activity ideas and resources for you to try in your EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) setting.
Top 10 Outdoor Maths Activities and Ideas:
Go fishing! Learn the principle of geometric shapes whilst also having some fun with this activity. One idea is to ask the kids to fish only for the numbers that fall in the 2 times tables category. This activity set features 20 brightly coloured fish which are numbered from 1 – 20 and also includes 2 fishing rods making them a fantastic resource for counting and practicing numbers.
Everybody knows how to play hopscotch! Children can practice counting numbers whilst also having fun outside with this highly popular activity. Throw stones onto a numbered square and let the children take turns to hop across the mat and retrieve the stone from whatever number it landed on. This hopscotch playmat is perfect for group play, recalling numbers and practicing skip counting, balance and coordination, making it a great resource for outdoor maths and physical activity.
Taking maths outdoor could not be easier with these number pebbles! Teach the children how to do numeracy sums in a fun way. An idea could be to turn the pebbles upside down or hide them around your garden and the children can find the correct answers to your questions. Make double digit numbers using the single digit pebbles or use the pebbles to practice ordering numbers. This activity set includes 20 pebbles numbered from 0-20 and mathematical signs including +, -, x, and =. Not only is this set perfect for practicing sum building and developing numeracy skills, the size of the pebbles is great for little hands to explore.
This timeless game is a different and exciting way to practice numbers with children outside whilst also getting everyone involved! Snakes and ladders provide lots of opportunities for counting and introduces the concept of addition and subtraction as you go up the ladders and down the snakes. This is a really fun game for keeping the children engaged. Not only is it great for improving maths skills, this fantastic game also teaches patience and develops communication and language.
These large number and symbol spots can make teaching and learning sums easier and clearer. The children can answer the sums and switch out the answers easily. A fun idea could be to give the children a big number and then the kids have to make the sum that results in that number. Our number and symbol spots are currently out of stock but we do have a fantastic alternative! This fabulous Outdoor Counting Kit has been designed with EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) maths in mind. This extensive kit includes bean bags, number spots and cones all marked with numerals and mathematical symbols. There are so many activities you can get stuck in with using the kit.
Just the right height! Quite literally taking the classroom outside with this whiteboard, allowing children to practice their numeracy skills. It’s perfect for interactive learning and displaying a range of maths visual representations. Using board markers children can practice arithmetic including adding and subtracting. The whiteboard is easy to wipe clean after use meaning it can be used time and time again.
This sorting tray can be used to teach children how to count and sort groups of numbers. A fun idea could be to scatter the different counters around your outdoor space, tasking the children to sort out the counters correctly.
Another way to practice counting with the children! One idea could be to group the children into 2,3 or 5 times tables for example, and the children have to go find the crabs with their nets that fall into their times table groups.
This number board makes for the perfect outdoor poster for maths! Younger children can go up to the board and practice their numbers and counting skills.
These number cones are a great way to incorporate exercise with maths! Set the cones up in your outdoor area and ask the kids to run to all the ‘even’, ‘odd’ or ‘prime’ number cones.
Time to get hands on with maths!
For more inspiration, take a look at our exciting range of Outdoor Maths resources to enhance your nursery, pre-school or early years setting.