In reception the focus is on accurate counting, knowing which numbers are bigger or smaller than others and the very beginnings of addition and subtraction.  But maths also includes patterns, measuring, and shape and space.  Your child will learn about all of these.


In Reception your child will be learning to:

  •  Say one, two, three, four…up to 20
  •  Count up to 10 objects.
  •  Recognise the written numbers 1, 2, 3, 4…up to 9
  •  Use words to compare things, such as more, less, greater, smaller, heavier, lighter.
  •  Find one more or one less than any number from 1-10
  •  Add two small groups of objects (with a total of 10 or less)
  •  Count how many are left when some objects are taken away.
  •  Make simple patterns and talk about them.
  •  Name shapes such as a circle, square, triangle, rectangle, cube, cone and sphere.
  •  Use words to describe where things are, such as over, under, above, below, on , in, next to, beside.

Ways to help your child with maths

Make a set of number cards from 1-10 or click on the image below to download the number balloons.

Number Balloons





Use them to try these activities:

  • Ask your child to put the cards in order.
  • When they are in order, tell your child to shut her eyes. Turn over one of the cards. Can she tell you which number it is?
  • Try the same thing but with the numbers jumbled up.
  • When the cards are in order, tell your child to shut his eyes. Now swap two around. Can he replace the cards the way they should be?
  • Jumble up the cards and hide one.  Can your child find out which number is missing?
  • Ask your child to choose a number card, then go and collect that many objects.  You could have a rule, such as all the objects should be red, or you must be able to wear them.

◊ Helps children with counting to 10

Maths in the kitchen.

You can use everyday life in the kitchen to teach maths.

  • Put a biscuit on each plate, How many will you need?
  • Can you find me three big potatoes?
  • See if there is a bigger plate to put the cake on.

◊  Good for numbers, size and problem solving.

Rhymes and Games

Number rhymes

Encourage your child to join in with number rhymes.  You can adapt the ones you know by using different numbers or different things.

Five Fat Fingers (sung to the tune of ten green bottles)

Five fat fingers standing in a line

Five fat fingers standing in a line,

And if one fat finger should accidentally fold,

There’d be four fat fingers standing in a line

And so on…

Buttons and Beads (for 2 or 3 people)

You need an ordinary dice and about 100 small objects, such as buttons, beads, coins or paperclips.  Each player needs a small cup, eggcup or small yogurt pot.

Take turns to toss a dice and collect that number of buttons.

The first person to fill up their pot wins!

◊ helps children with counting.

© 2015 Charlesworth School