Numicon Activities for Preschool

Numicon Activities for Preschool children
Numicon activities are a great way for children to engage with numbers.

Numicon is a physical maths resource developed by Oxford University Press to provide support for parents and educators when delivering maths workshops or lessons. It is a perfect tool for children in Early Years or for Key Stage One but is particularly useful if you are teaching children in Key Stage Two and Three that are struggling with maths. Numicon has a wonderful way of taking the, at times, abstract concepts of mathematics and making them palatable for children. Introducing Numicon activities for preschool children is a great way of encouraging children to get to grips with maths and ensures that they have a solid foundation in basic maths concepts. With an array of Numicon activities for preschool children available, they’ll be begging to do maths. 


Numicon Activities for Preschool Children: Shapes and Their Order

A great way for encouraging children to become involved with maths is by introducing shapes. Getting to know shapes and their order is a great task for kids to do with Numicon. To do the activity you will need to have a Numicon board. Make sure you cover the board and your task is to help your child cover the board so there are no gaps. Make sure they use one of every shape.

Another great activity is the shape lotto. You take one Numicon baseboard and select four Numicon shapes from a set of one to ten shapes. Place each one in a corner of the baseboard. From here, place a set of one to ten shapes in an opaque bag. Encourage your child to reach into the bag and select a shape. If a matching shape is drawn, cover the matching shape on your baseboard. If it’s not a matching shape, then you can replace it in the bag and pick again. Encourage your child to think about the colour and shape. This teaches them to trial and error. 

Remembering patterns is a useful tool for children to learn and can be performed using Numicon shapes. The resources required for this activity are number image cards and matching number image resources. Place the picture cards face down on the table in front of you and encourage your child to choose a card. Get them to study the picture and then place it face down in front of you. This is an example of Numicon activities for preschool children that helps with visual memory. They can then use Numicon blocks to create a number pattern. This aids children’s memory of shapes. A perfect tool for helping with counting objects as well. 

Another way of encouraging children to visualise numbers and a great example of Numicon activities for preschool children are Swaps. Get your child to place all the shapes in order. Then, once they have the Numicon shapes lined up, tell them to cover their eyes while you swap two shapes over. They can then open their eyes and identify the incorrect shapes before reassembling them. This can be done a few times, increasing the difficulty as your child becomes comfortable with the swaps.

Numicon Activities for Preschool
Number cards are a great Numicon resource for children to use alongside their Numicon shapes. (Source: Lisa Maruna)

Linking Shapes: Number Names and Numerals

Numicons are unique due to their colour and shape representing a variety of numbers. This makes Numicon activities for preschool ideal for children learning to identify shapes. An activity that helps children with linking shapes to their number name and numeral is a game called Snatch. You will need Numicon blocks and will need to place them in a ten-frame order. Here, you can encourage children to work out how many each block is worth. 

Name That Shape is another example of Numicon activities for preschool children that encourages the linking of shapes. The resources required are Numicon Number Cards. You will only need one to ten if playing with Early Years children. Shuffle the numeral cards and place them face down in a pile. Take it in turns to take a card and match it appropriately to the shape. It can be done vice versa as well. It’s a fun and exciting activity that allows children to link shapes to their number names and numerals.

One popular activity used in Numicon resources is Feel and Find. You’ll need digit cards numbered one to ten, shuffled and placed face down in a pile. Get an opaque bag with the Numicon shapes within it. Make sure the Numicon blocks are one to ten as well. Turn over the card and feel for a shape. Feel around until you get what you think is the corresponding shape. If you pick incorrectly, place the Numicon block back in the bag and try again. This can be used with numeral cards instead or can incorporate both resources. 

Another fantastic way for Numicon activities for preschool children to be utilised is Swap Shape or Swap Numeral. Have the shapes in order with matching numerals. Get your child to look away as you swap over two of the shapes or numerals. Then allow them the opportunity to place them back in their correct places. A great way of engaging with your child and learning through play. This is also a great activity for monitoring their progress.

There are plenty of materials that can be incorporated into Numicon activities for preschool. (Source: Mvolz)

Numicon Activities for Preschool: Using the Patterns

Patterns and sequences are used in everyday activities, and they’re an important part of mathematics for children to learn. Once activity to use Numicon pegs that helps with this is the game How Many Pegs? Set out shapes and cards in order. Using the white baseboard, set out a random arrangement of pegs, from one to ten. Encourage your child to arrange the pegs into Numicon patterns and say the number out loud. You can use the shapes to check this as well. This is a great way to encourage children to participate in an individual activity and to critically think. 

Numicon activities for preschool that encourage children to think of patterns are Add One More. This is specifically designed to develop children’s mathematical thinking by testing their knowledge of patterns. Set the Numicon shapes in arranged order of one to ten. Get your child to take the one shape and put it with the two shape to make the three shape. Then take the one shape and put it with the three shape so it looks like the four shape. Repeat with each shape and demonstrate the pattern occurring.