A Pocket Outdoor Maths Kit

10 January 2018 · 0 comments

For the past three years I’ve been experimenting with useful pocket-sized maths resources. Things have come in and gone out again, as I’ve refined, tested and adapted what works. What I’ve been aiming for is a small set of resources which enable me to support children spontaneously with their learning. I also want the resources to be at good value pocket-money prices or free. This is what I currently have in my wee pocket maths bag….

A bright number set

Working outside, numbers and letters need to be visually clear. Fluorescent backgrounds can help children see the symbols more carefully. I use permanent marker pen for the numbers so they do not bleed and it saves me needing to laminate them.

The numbers can be moved around as they are always kept in this slide pocket. This allows the resource to be folded up nice and small. On the reverse I have written the number names and the tens frame layout. This means children see pictorial representations of the numbers too.

Various long bits

This includes:

• Sammy the One-metre Rope Snake. See this blog post for why Sammy is so useful.
• His brother, Sid the Stripy Rope Snake progresses measuring into number work and rounding up and down.
• A one-metre measuring tape. This one is from Cosy and it’s very plain with only centimetres marked. It is a useful vertical number line as well as a measuring tool. I have heard that Ikea provide something similar when you visit their stores.
• A measuring tape with millimetres on one side and inches on the other. This helps older children convert between centimetres, metres and millimetres and also between imperial and metric measuring systems.

Vocabulary sheets

This is more a reminder for me about what maths vocabulary children need to know. The collection below is my old one for the early level. I’ve since revised this substantially after writing Messy Maths – the revised lists are in each chapter.

Other useful bits

• A pocket-sized cotton tens frame. Each square is 10x10cm which is big enough to fit interesting found objects. It also means that the traditional base ten sets can fit inside each square. This means the sheet can be used for place value representations up to 99999.  Enjoy this blog post about its early years uses.
• A one-minute sand timer: useful for timing children, events and happenings outside
• A mini plastic tens frame board – it’s the red object in the photo. Good for tiny tens frame collections and also for making prints in sand and mud.
• A shape stencil – it’s the green object in the photo. It contains a range of common 2D shapes so I find it helpful for discussions with a child and checking my facts.
• A coin: essential for decision-making and way finding. Read Messy Maths or attend a course to find out more.
• A pair of dice for impromptu games.
• A colourful 0-50 number line from Cosy. Sometimes I have a nature number line in there as well.

As you may have noticed, I’ve a lot of links to different Cosy resources. That’s because this education product company have kindly made up pocket-sized maths kits and put many of the above resources in their catalogue on pages 212 and 213.

I keep the resources in a little Lomo translucent dry bag  as I don’t always have a pocket. This means both children and myself can see what’s inside the bag which is helpful.

Finally, I’d love to know what maths resources you have to hand… and yes I do use fingers and thumbs for counting 🙂

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