Garden Maths Ideas

Garden Maths Ideas

I am sharing some ‘Garden Maths’ ideas this week instead of talking through my provision as I usually do. Some photographs of my provision will be shared on my Facebook Page here instead. These Maths activities are either things we have already done with the children or just general ideas to be explored. They are all easily adapted…




Simple Numeral Recognition

Laminated leaves & ladybirds. Self-explanatory really! Real leaves would be lovely here too…

Garden Maths - counting ladybirds - from Rachel (",)

Counting out flowers to go with numbered butter beans (I originally made these as ‘eggs’ for our Hungry Caterpillar work)…

Garden Maths - numbered butter beans and flowers - from Rachel (",)

I drew spots on the front of these flowers & the corresponding numbers are written on the back (they are from my Rainbow Colours post). The children count the spots & match the number – they can check the back of the flower to see if they are correct…

Garden Maths - counting spots and numeral recognition - from Rachel (",)

Glass nugget bees used as counting manipulatives (blogpost about my homemade bees here)

Garden Maths - simple number recognition and counting - from Rachel (",)

Homemade bees, glass nugget bees & numbers…

Garden Maths - Number recognition and counting with homemade bees, from Rachel (",)

Matching bees to numbered or spotted flowers…

Garden maths... numbered flowers - from Rachel (",)


Ordering Numerals

Numbered wood-chips…

Garden Maths - ordering numbered wood chips - from Rachel (",)

… or flowers…

Garden Maths - ordering numbered flowers - from Rachel (",)

Numbered homemade bees (or ladybirds)…

Garden Maths - ordering numbered homemade bees, from Rachel (",)



Simple ladybird counting…

Garden Maths - ladybird counting - from Rachel (",)

Numbered craft sticks & butter beans (seeds would be nice here too)…

Garden Maths - counting beans - from Rachel (",)

Homemade numbered bees with flowers for counting…

Garden Maths - counting out flowers to match the numerals - from Rachel (",)


Counting & Addition

These leaves are actually plastic coasters. They’re fab for small world play & in the water tray. Here I have used them to separate the different ‘sets’ of ladybirds, which makes it easier for the children to count…

Garden Maths - simple number bonds - from Rachel (",)

Homemade counting ladybirds (see this post for other ideas linked with these)

Garden Maths - counting ladybird spots - from Rachel (",)

With small world minibeast insects…

Garden Maths... number bonds with small world minibeasts... from Rachel (",)


Shape, Space & Measure



Stones. Lovely for sorting as the children can use their own criteria – much more creative than the usual ‘colour’ or ‘type’. I love it when they come up with criteria such as ‘these look like eggs’ or ‘these are ones my mum would like’…

Garden Maths... sorting stones - from Rachel (",)

Shop-bought sorting & counting ladybirds… more limited as they can only really sort for size or colour, but it could be a starting point for those just beginning to sort…

Garden Maths - sorting ladybirds according to colour or size... from Rachel (",)

Leaves… sort for type, colour, size or own criteria…

Garden Maths... leaves to sort... from Rachel (",)


Garden Maths... sorting leaves - from Rachel (",)


Repeating Patterns

… with erasers. You can often find these in discount shops – they’re great for patterning with & for fine motor work & come in all sorts of shapes…

Garden Maths - repeating patterns with erasers - from Rachel (",)

…with the coloured ladybirds…

Garden Maths - repeating patterns with ladybirds - from Rachel (",)

… with insects from the small world area…

Garden Maths... repeating patterns with insects... from Rachel (",)



Ordering sticks by length…

Garden Maths... ordering sticks - from Rachel (",)



Creating on a ‘natural’ geoboard (made with nails & a wood slice)…

Garden Maths - shapes on a wood slice geoboard - from Rachel (",)



Weighing & balancing natural materials is fun – even if they do all end up in one big mixture 😉

Garden Maths... weighing natural materials... from Rachel (",)

All sorts of conversations about weight occur when trying to balance stones…

Garden Maths... balancing stones - from Rachel (",)


… Don’t forget about the mathematical thinking often involved in Transient Art

Garden Maths... outdoor transient art - from Rachel (",)

Garden Maths... outdoor transient art - from Rachel (",)


Of course there are so many more ideas that could be explored. These are just examples created with a limited amount of loose parts & resources 🙂

Have you got any ideas you could add?


PS. Reception were playing number games last week – this is one of their well-worn chalk numberlines…

Garden Maths... outdoor numberlines - from Rachel (",)


Thanks for reading!

Rachel (“,)

Love to Learn Linky Featured

Featured at Fun a Day


  1. Thanks for the gorgeous ideas 🙂 I find activities for independent maths quite tricky but all of these lovely provocations are fabulous!! 🙂

    • Thanks Claire! I always demonstrate ‘suggestions for play’ first. Lots of my class need to ‘steered’ with the maths play, but I’ve also had lots who will independently choose to complete these activities. Love observing it 🙂

    • Oh I’m so glad when I hear that I’ve inspired somebody to try something. Hope you have fun! 🙂

  2. Great ideas for math activities! I especially love the ones that incorporate natural materials. Thanks for linking up to the Love to Learn Linky!

    • Thank you. They’re my favourite too (“,)

  3. Hi Rachel, I am so excited to be featuring your post tomorrow at the Love to Learn Linky. It is full of great ideas to teach math skills in a fun way. I hope you will stop by to see your feature and link up again 🙂

    • Wow! Thank you, Katie. Looking forward to seeing the post 😀

  4. Thank you for sharing such beautiful and useful ideas.
    Can’t wait to try them with my daughter.

    • Thank you, Tanya. Hope she enjoys them! (“,)

  5. How did you make the bumblebees and ladybugs?


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