Maths in Reception (4-5 years)

Learning at the age of four should be fun, hands on, with lots of sensory experiences, and help to develop fine motor skills.

I don’t like to use workbooks, worksheets and activity books at this age. They will have plenty of time for this in the future! Learning at the age of four should be fun, hands on, with lots of sensory experiences, and help to develop fine motor skills. Did you know that one of the synonyms of the word ‘understand’ is to ‘figure out’?
This is exactly what we will help you to do. We will figure out some maths!

Before I tell you how to in fun way achieve each math's goal, let's have a look at the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning listed in EYFS framework:

  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things;
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

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Your child's teacher and you should use them as a guidance in planning the activities. When planning maths activities I always think about:

  • Which skill I would love my child to acquire?
  • What is he/she into at the moment (trains, cars, animals, Lego, cooking)?
  • How to add sensory experience?
  • How to support fine motor skills?( For information about fine motor skills click here)

To be honest, most of the time my kids don’t even know that we are learning. For example we made big salt dough numbers. The learning goal was to start recognising numbers. We talked about the shape of each number and tried to bend, twist and chop the dough to look like number 8. To this day my older son says that “number 3 when you turn it on a side looks like bum bum” and "number 8 like mummy's glasses."

The idea is very simple. If you child likes cars - put the numbers on cars and line them up, for sensory bit put the cars in fake snow, for fine motors just add little pebbles or glass nuggets that your child can move around. Of course we don't always have time to do all of that! I will show you quick and easy ways to play, teach and learn. OK, Let's have a look what is your child expected to know at the end of reception. The Early Learning Goal in Maths: "Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing". To make sure that your child achieves this goal and even exceed it I put all the UK EYFS framework requirements in a table.

About Step 1 and Step 2

I chopped ELG into 'Step 1' and 'Step 2'. To achieve 'Step 1' your child needs to memorise a lot of numbers, but I will help you to get the concept behind them and use visuals to understand them better. I will show you how to use concrete manipulatives to support your children, not only to solve current mathematical task, but also to build visual images, that help to create mental maths skills. In my opinion children are just like us, we like to understand and see the purpose in things, instead of simply accepting or memorising them. This system simply helps you to know and what to focus on first. For example, there is no point asking your child to tell you what is one more then 16 if they are still not confident with counting to 20.

The most important part is when you click on a goal that you want to practice. It will explain to you the skill and give you a bunch of ideas that you can use at home. It will also guide you to the right resources, which will make your life easier.

The ideas are divided into

  • Make it 👉 it has all the activities, or tools that you can make yourself.
  • Buy it 👉 you will find links to buy the fancy resources that I used - if you feel like you really need them.

I use an affiliate program so each time you buy a resource following my links you support my work.

We value your feedback and input, please leave us a comment and upload pictures of your kids figuring out some maths!

Thank you!

Download the Maths Curriculum

Here is a table with all the goals divided into Step 1 and Step 2. You can download it here

as pdf and tick as you go.

Good luck!

Numbers and Calculations


Positioning and Sequencing

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