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E2BN Early Years Maths

Maths on the back

"Maths on the back" is one way of sharing Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy with mothers, fathers and carers. It works in a similar way to Story or Rhyme sacks.

Small back-packs include PSRN resources, often but not always based around a story, and are loaned out to parents and carers.

This page includes our resources for developing "Maths on the back". You can download the document accompanying each pack. The document lists the contents of a pack and gives ideas of PSRN activities for parents and carers that can arise out of sharing the resources. By downloading the documents you can adapt them for your setting and put together your own resources for parents, carers and children to share together.

       Ten in the bed

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

There are many opportunities for counting, for instance the toys in different places on different pages, biscuits, slippers under the bed etc. You can help by chanting numbers from zero, forwards and backwards, odds and evens, anything that your child finds fun and enjoys the sound and rhythm of, even if they are not yet counting accurately. You could use the number fan.

Download the full document "Ten in the bed" and make your own pack.


One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

When you have the time, shopping together can be a good mathematical experience. You can help to develop language by commenting out loud; for instance "how many do we need?", "do we have enough or is the jar nearly empty?", "we need two each so that's four", "that's very expensive so we shall have to wait until we have enough money". You could show how you write a shopping list and refer to it as you shop. You could ask your child to help, for example fetching "two tins of beans" or counting "five apples" into a bag.

Download the full document "Shopping" and make your own pack.


One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

As a start you can use nursery rhymes like Ring a Ring a Roses and the Grand Old Duke of York that give good chances to lift the parachute high with arms above heads on all the "ups" and crouch to lower it on the "downs". Then experiment with other rhymes, raps and songs.


 Download the full document "Parachute" and make your own pack.

 Let's Party         

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

Use the resources to play at pretend parties, for example laying the table and asking "do we have enough plates for everyone?" You could extend this by matching one cup, napkin, dish (for example) to each plate. This kind of activity can hold children's attention and the play extend over hours, even days especially if there has been a recent birthday in the family.


Download the full document "Let's Party" and make your own pack.

Walter's Windy Washing Line

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

The illustrations are good for showing how numbers and words are important in everyday life. There are dials, lists, calendars, timetables, measures, labels, signs and games; some are obvious while others need hunting for. The front doors and sheds are numbered odd and even. You could take a number walk, spotting shapes and numbers or have a number hunt at home. A calendar is good for children to cross off days and work out "how many sleeps until...."

Download the full document "Walter's Windy Washing Line" and make your own pack.

Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

Using the fake grass (or real) support your child in finding some other things (for example pot plant or greenery, stones or pebbles and twigs) to make a home or habitat for the large dinosaurs. You can talk about the dinosaur with the "really long neck" being able to "reach the tallest tree in the jungle" or about needing to find "a bigger rock for the spiky dinosaur to hide behind" etc.


Download the full document "Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs" and make your own pack.

 It's a goal!

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

  • Have fun playing! You could try different kinds and sizes of balls. If the weather is too bad to get outside you could even try playing inside with a balloon or the tiny ball. If you need a bigger space, take it to a local park.



Download the full document "It's a goal!" and make your own pack.

Duckie's Ducklings   

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

As well as the number chart, with objects, numerals and words you will find at the end of the book, every page has small and large numbers of things to count. There are many steps to learning to count and you can help by having fun with chanting numbers from zero and backwards. You could show your child how to point to and count one object at a time. Children are often good at recognising small quantities without counting and are sometimes really interested in the sound of large numbers. Try counting together rather than asking "how many?" too often, especially when your child knows that you know already!

Download the full document "Duckie's Ducklings" and make your own pack.


   Bob the Builder

One example from the parents sheet kept in the pack:

Enjoy playing with the bricks; although at first they seem a little plain, we find that children are often absorbed in this kind of building toy. It may be helpful to play alongside, commenting on the shapes; for example talking about which shapes "can roll", "this shape has six faces...and they're all the same size", "I can't balance another brick on this pointy cone....it looks like the top of a castle", I'm going to use these two cylinders and this triangular one to make a doorway to my castle".


 Download the full document "Bob the Builder" and make your own pack.