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Collecting and counting

This self chosen activity of searching for and collecting balls in the garden has been started by one of the children. The adult supports and encourages the game, adding in mathematical language and concepts.

Good for looking at

  • Maths
  • Cardinal number
  • Socialising
  • Games
  • Effective adult support


  • What cues can you see that show what the children are interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How are the children learning?
  • Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • In what ways does the adult support the children’s learning?
  • How does the environment support the children’s learning?


What are your thoughts about:

  • The areas of learning and development that were covered through this play activity?
  • The adult’s role – how did she support the children, specifically with mathematical concepts?
  • The importance of the environment and the materials?


What would you do to:

  • Support the children’s development of mathematical concepts?
  • Support the children’s interest in games, numbers and amounts?
  • Encourage the children to move the game on and maybe make it more complex?

What next:

  • Did watching the clip help you notice any particular strengths or weaknesses that you might have when trying to support children with maths during their play? How could you use this?
  • Could you support others with something you are particularly good at? Or find someone to support you with an area you find difficult?
  • Could you suggest a way of encouraging this kind of play in your own setting?
  • Do you or members of your team need to develop confidence around supporting children with mathematical concepts?