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?! 






🎃 Happy Halloween 🎃

Yay, it’s almost half term and we’ve survived the first few weeks of settling in and the general madness of being back at school!

This year I did a Halloween theme for the first time ever. In the past I’ve always been afraid of upsetting certain parents, but seeing how into witches and potion making some of my Muslim girls were last year, I decided to go for it!

We focused on the Julia Donaldson book, room on the broom, which is full of rhythm, rhyme and repitition and is perfect for phase 1 phonics.

I am a firm believer in not introducing phase 2 letter sounds too early in reception. I feel that it is imperative that children are exposed to plenty of phase 1 rhythm, rhyme, alliteration and blending and segmenting games, in order to build up a solid base and an ear for sounds.  In our objective led planning this week our literacy focus has been blending and segmenting sounds in words. We set up a silly soup activity outside with lentils, beans and CVC word objects….

imageLater in the week we transformed our outdoor playhouse into a witches hut….



In it we had our silly soup cauldron and some CVC word objects. In the other corner we set out the props from the room and the broom story as well as having the book and picture prompts on the wall. We also filled our little ikea storage wall hanger full of pens and writing frames..



Our numeracy objective this week was for the children to count out a set amount from a larger group. I modelled this activity at the carpet and then set it up in our water tray which was filled with gelibaff and cauldrons. The children had to pick a number card and place that many items into their cauldron. They LOVED the gelibaff and asked if they could have it out everyday!


On on our funky fingers table I vagazzled some skull shot glasses that I bought in good old poundland and the children had to fill them up accordingly with spiders of varying sizes. Again differentiated tools were provided.

Halloween activities on rockmyclassroom.com


The following week I set this funky fingers activity up in a tuff spot outside with green gelibaff. The children were thrilled!

imageGelibaff funky fingers

That’s all for now folks. I hope you all have a wonderful and restful half term. ❤️


Nifty Numicon

I ❤️ Numicon. The tactile and visual element it adds to number is fantastic.

At the moment in Reception we are really just at the exploration stage, so I’ve but putting the numicon out with the paints, in gloop and with the play dough.

At the play dough table the children made imprints with various pieces and investigated which pieces would fit on top of the other.  Marbles and gems also fit nicely into the Numicon holes so I put out a few bowls of these and modelled lots of counting out and one to one correspondence.

Numicon and play dough rockmyclassroom.com

We also put it out with some aqua beads which offered a fantastic sensory experience….

Numicon on rockmyclassroom.com

Numicon on rockmyclassroom.comWe’ve been using the numicon tiles as a scaffold for our children who don’t get the concept of counting out from a larger group and stopping at a said number.  With the Aqua beads we encouraged  the children to pick a number card and then count out that many aqua beads into the Numicon holes.

Numicon on rockmyclassroom.com

I also have a little numicon display up on the wall and know it’s a bit OCD, but I’ve colour coordinated all my number lines etc around the classroom to coincide with the Numicon colours so that the children might notice certain patterns developing.

Numicon on rockmyclassroom.com

I had a few (million) requests to add the colour coded numicon number lines pictured on the wall display above and on my on maths table below. Your wish is my command; please click on the images below for your free downloads!

Free download - numicon number line


Click on the image below, or failing that the link below the image, to access your free PDF copy of the numicon colour coded numberline…


Free Download - numicon number line

Free Download – numicon number line

Numicon colour coded number line to 20

Free download - numicon number cardsNumicon colour coded number cards