Number Recognition & Ordering with Paper Tubes. Playful Maths

Feb 15, 2013

maths for kids, fun maths, numeracy, maths activity

Welcome back to the "Playful Maths" weekly series brought to you by

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


Last week we brought you 2 great maths activities using paper tubes.

This week we bring you another 2 activities using Paper Tubes. 

Today's activity from us focuses on "Number Recognition and Ordering" 

This activity also includes aspects of countingone-to-one correspondence, counting-on, sorting and fine motor skills.

Ages: 2+
(M has just turned 4. See the bottom for handy tips to Extend or Simplify to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Paper Tube cut into smaller pieces (we used 1 wrapping paper tube for this), Foam number stickers.
Optional: Counters, playdough & chopstick.

Sorting though numbers to find the right numbers.

Fine motor skills to peel off sticker backing

Sticking on the numbers. We focused on teen numbers. 

Counting on to figure out which number needs to be made next.

Ordering to ensure all the required numbers are made.

Once they are all made. It's up to you how you use this fun manipulative.
Just making them includes tons of maths learning and practice which children need in order to consolidate their understanding of numbers.

Here are some ways you could use your Paper Tube Numbers

Mix them all up and find the numbers one by one and put them in order from smallest to largest.

We had great fun building with them. Adding extra elements of balance and coordination

Add counters, choose one of your Paper Tube Numbers and count out the corresponding amount of counters.

Children could fill the inside of each Paper Tube Number with the corresponding amount of counters/pompoms etc by counting them out..

Ordering vertically was lots of fun. 
Stick a chopstick (or any stick etc) into playdough and thread away.

Choose any number and have the child count-on from that number and thread on the next numbers.
You can have children count and thread numbers backwards or forwards depending on which way they're ordering.

When you're done with your Paper Tube Numbers, thread them onto a piece of string, tie the ends and they're ready for you to get out next time.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by starting with numbers 1-3. Include higher numbers up to 10 as they are able.
(We focussed on teen numbers as that's where my child needs more work. We made a whole set though)

- You can Extend this activity in many ways:
  • Make higher numbers as required
  • Use single numbers on each tube and then place tubes together to create new numbers
  • Use the number tubes to practice addition, subtraction etc
  • Have children paint or write the numbers on the tubes themselves

- Mix it up by sticking the numbers on the tubes with them horizontally instead. They can then be threaded on rope or a broom handle, etc, horizontally. (Much harder to build with! haha)

- To learn new skills and to consolidate their understanding, children need to experience opportunities to practice these same skills over and over again. You will find many of our Maths activities practice the same skills using slightly different materials. This is about making it fun and keeping it interesting for kids. Then, they'll want to learn!

- Here are our 2 Paper Tube Activities from last week from both Learn with Play at home and The Imagination Tree
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)


- Playful Maths. Below are the Egg Carton Activities from both Learn with Play at home and The Imagination Tree
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)


Don't forget to join us next week for the latest Playful Maths activities.... with Plastic Bottles!

Are there any Everyday Materials that you'd like to see us use? 
Mention it in the comments and we'll see what we can come up with!

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. Loved this! Tweeted it too. Hope I remember this activity in a couple of years when my baby's old enough to do it.

    1. Thank you! :) That's what I use pinterest for haha. Saving those ideas for later. :)

  2. SUCH a jam-packed with fun, excellent idea Debs! Love them all (as usual) SO glad to have you partnering with me in this little maths venture! x

  3. Hello;
    I loved this idea but I need to know how to introduce numbers to my son "24 months"...we usually count to 5 or ten on our hands but what else can I do ??

    1. All of my maths activities can be simplified for younger children. If you look in the handy tips you will see how. :) Start by counting out small amounts of blocks and pompoms etc. You could make these number ones for your son with the numbers 1-5 and then count out the corresponding number.

  4. "Are there any Everyday Materials that you'd like to see us use"
    I have a box and a half of breastpads. I bet loads of other mothers buy them but hardly use them. I was going to use them for snowmen on Christmas cards but wasn´t sure if the family would appreciate it.

    1. haha, well, that would certainly present a challenge. We are however trying to use materials that are more accessible to everyone.. and ones that may be able to be used in the classroom too. I donated all my left over ones as soon as I could. haha

  5. Can i know where do you ge the number stickers from? some website maybe?


    1. Hi there. I'm in Australia and these particular foam number stickers were from Kmart. Here you can buy them very cheaply at the dollar shops and places with art/craft supplies.
      A cheap way to buy them overseas is on ebay. Here's an example of a listing but you may want to do your own search from your location.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Now why did I think of that? This is such a great idea and I am so impressed with all the learning you managed to get out of some tubes. Pinning!

    1. Thanks Vicky. It doesn't take much to have fun with maths, does it? :)

  8. I love this idea! I can't wait to try it out with my boys.

  9. Love this idea!I have been saving my paper towel and toilet paper rolls waiting to find some ways to recycle them with craft ideas to do with my nephew.This is perfect!We are working on counting and our numbers so I can't wait to do this with him!!

  10. Such a fun way to practice number sequencing! We have so many paper towel rolls and now I know just what to do with them. Thank you!

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