How to help with Foundation stage maths

How to help with Foundation stage maths

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Number work 0-5 years

You've come to the right place to help your pre-schooler with maths!

These number work pages are written specifically to help children to begin to understand numbers.

The worksheets below are just what you need to help your pre school child enjoy simple maths concepts. Then they will view number work as fun. This will help immensely when they tackle Reception class activity. 

Learn to count 1
Learn to count 2
Learn to count 3
An example of maths ideas for FS
Counting 1 to 10
Recognising numbers
Tower building
Can you count 2
Let us think of some numbers
Fun with shapes and numbers
Number writing & counting for FS
Old Macdonald number worksheet
How many are there here?
One potato two potato graph
Count at the pond
Using bricks to count on and back from 10
Maths concepts for FS
Start counting
Counting FS
Counting and numbers FS
The same or more

Children in Nursery or Kindergarten during their Early Years are introduced both incidentally and formally to counting and to the use of numbers. They learn number rhymes and songs which help reiterate the actual counting. ‘Baa baa black sheep’ is often sung by mothers even when the children are babies. Other songs such as 'One two, buckle my shoe' are the start of learning to count. Children can often recite numbers up to ten by habit without any other concepts behind this. The difficult part is teaching children to associate, for example, the number 3 with three items. This can take a long time but with constant play, demonstration and even trial and error, your child will successfully be able to bring you one book, and two pencils etc. Then comes the stage of combining this knowledge with the physical recognition that this is actually what a three looks like and how it is written.


The next part of learning is to be able to identify in which order the numbers do go. This comes with constant practice and by incidental learning with everyday things such as:

  • Calendar
  • Page numbers
  • Reading books with numbers
  • Using the telephone
  • Using the computer
  • Clock
  • Remote control
  • Car numbers
Games such as Snakes and Ladders use numbers, and many computer games for three year olds reinforce all the details of learning. Once your child has mastered a number line i.e. counting from 1 to 10, and recognising the number symbols, it is time to introduce concepts such as:
  • which number comes before
  • which is greater
  • jump two numbers higher
This is a number line example:
  • Put your finger on 2 then jump 2 numbers higher
  • Which number comes before 6?
  • Which numbers are greater than 7?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Gradually it is time to introduce the symbols + and = 
This is done with blocks first and then numbers are introduced.
This is a child's first sum 1 + 2 = 3 

Addition is always taught across the page to start off with, as this is the way that the child reads, and they are also learning left to right eye and hand co-ordination. Number teaching then progresses as the child is ready.
Alongside this, the child is also learning about shape, time, weight and measurement. Every child learns at a different time and at a different rate. Some find the concept of number very easy and others need more individual help. Everything the child does should be made fun and enjoyable. The worksheets illustrated on this page are just a few of the many available - look at the Worksheet Finder or Maths page for more.   
Longer or shorter
Length worksheet for FS
Introduction to numbers
How to help with Foundation stage maths
Sorting and counting
Foundation Stage maths fun
Numbers 1 to 4
Biggest and smallest
FS maths work with an adult
Learn to count
Ideas to help with maths concepts at home

Your child has a long time to learn different aspects of the subject so success and praise are very necessary, especially at the beginning stages. It is wonderful to see the pleasure on a child’s face when they realise that they are correct and have understood - it's what every parent wants and thoroughly rewards them for all the time spent.