Engaging & Colourful Addition Activities

After reading a blog post about objective led planning on the foundation stage forum, by Early Years guru Alistair Bryce Clegg,  I decided to change my planning this year.   We’ve been doing objective led planning since late September and I’m loving it!

The premise of objective led planning is that you take the learning to the children rather than calling the children to set activities. You really have to be able to think on your feet but the result is that the children are so much more interested and engaged. It also gives you and your support staff a clear focus for the week. Once we’ve worked with every child we revisit the children who struggled or were on the verge of grasping something. It’s a highly efficient way of working and I feel confident that I know exactly where the children are and can clearly see their progress from week to week.

This week my objective focus has been on addition. Seeing the crowd of children that had gathered around the funky fingers bead skewering activity, I knew I’d be onto a winner if I could somehow link it to addition.  I asked the children to roll 2 dice and then add the total.  Once they had done that they could then skewer on that many beads. They kept going until they got right to the top of their skewer, offering lots of opportunities for teaching different addition strategies whilst giving me the opportunity to video and assess their newly learned skills.  Introducing a focus at this activity didn’t detract from the children’s enjoyment, but actually heightened their enjoyment and engagement.


Sorry for the minging photo of my objective led planning sheet, but  I thought you would rather see it than not!


This week we’ve had a focus on colour because some of our EAL children don’t yet know colour names.  One of the activities was getting creative with food colouring, pipettes and kitchen roll.  There was also a Jolly phonics link here because the day before we had taught the phoneme ‘i’ and the story is about a mouse called Inky who spilled ink all over a desk.  The children loved experimenting with colour and pattern so we set it up again the following day,  this time with the addition of dice.  As before the children had to add the total of 2 dice and then put that many drops of colour onto their piece of kitchen roll. They were queuing up for this activity and we’re thrilled with their finished designs…


If the children automatically recognised or subitized dice patterns I introduced the concept of counting on to find the total.  One of the children was also keen to show me how she could count the dots on the dice in 2s and 3s!


Their designs are so gorgeous that I think I might use them as a tie dye effect backing for a display. I just hope it doesn’t look too psychedelic!

imageWhilst on the topic of colour I thought I’d also share a non-numeracy based activity this week.  I bought some sugar shakers and added powder paint.  My TA sat with groups of children and showed them how to use the shakers and pipettes of water to mix and make various shades of paint.  The children absolutely loved it! We intend to set up a paint mixing station in the class from next week, now that they children know how to manage it.


imageThat’s all for now folks. Thank God it’s Friday tomorrow eh?! 






7 thoughts on “Engaging & Colourful Addition Activities

  1. Gill A says:

    Love it! Where did you get your sugar shakers? Been searching everywhere and all too expensive..
    Thanks for sharing 😃


  2. Eleanor Williams says:

    Hi Alison, Happy new year! Your objective led planning proforma looks a lot easier to use than the one we’ve been trialling. Could you possibly email me a copy? Eleanor


  3. Hello, Thank you for sharing your objective led planning sheet it is so helpful! Can I ask what you put in the column in the far right? (the header has been hidden by your paper) Thank you! Amy


    • Hi Amy,

      I purposely covered it because I had written notes down about the children, but do not despair, I’m in the middle of writing a blog post about objective led planning and will be sure to include some downloads.

      Alison x


  4. Emma says:

    How wonderful! And I stumbled on this just in time as I was planning on doing addition and colour mixing this week! Fab ideas!


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