Fun Block Maths for Kids

Apr 6, 2013

Estimating for Kids, Estimation Activity, Sorting Activity, Colour Activity, Color Activity, Counting Activity

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

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


Last week I shared Pipe Cleaner Numbers.

This week we bring you another 2 Playful Maths Activities using Wooden Blocks. 

Most people I know have a set of colourful wooden blocks. Ours are kept in a wooden cart and are always out and being used in different ways in part of our play. 

The other day the cart was out and I asked my daughter (aged 4) to tell me which colour we had the most of? Well, she didn't know the answer so this set about a fun challenge where we got to learn more about colours, sorting and classifying, counting, estimation, number writing, number recognition and ordering.

Ages: 2+
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Coloured Blocks, paper, markers/crayons etc

In order to find out which was the most popular block colour, or which colour had the most and the least amount of blocks, she had to first sort them into piles.

Once they were all in their corresponding colours, I asked her to look at the piles and tell me which she thought had the most amount of blocks and the least amount. 
This was a guess or an estimation she could make based on what she could see in front of her.

It was then time to test her guess. She started counting from the pile that she thought was the largest. 
To help young children counting groups of objects, encourage them to move each item from one side to the other as they count each object.

We recorded the amount of blocks to practice number recognition, reading and number writing whilst keeping a record to discover if our initial estimations were correct.

After recording the colour of the one she thought had the most amount of one colour, I asked her to then choose the colour she thought had the next largest amount of blocks.

Even at home I still like to reward my daughters efforts with stamps or stickers. This type of positive reinforcement can keep children motivated as well as instilling a sense of pride for their accomplishments.

When all the blocks had been counted and the numbers recorded we looked back over our list to see if her initial estimations were correct. She then wanted to put the blocks back into the cart in order from most to least.

The blocks looked lovely as a rainbow of colours in the cart. They didn't stay that way for long.

The list we wrote up together wasn't fancy but that wasn't the point. It is about making it meaningful for the child so that they can make connections between it and what they are learning and experiencing. She is also now able to look back on it and practice the numbers in a meaningful way (ie. these are not just random numbers, they are the exact numbers of how many of each coloured block she has. This means something to her and gives these numbers and words a purpose that she understands)

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity by having younger children separate a smaller amount of blocks and colours. Start with 2 colours and have children sort them into the two different colours. Work up to counting, larger groups, more colours and estimation as the child is ready.

- Extend this activity by
  •  having children estimate not only the order of least amount of blocks to most amount of blocks but the amount of blocks as well. 
  • Once you have counted and figured out all the numbers of blocks, children could add them up to find the total amount.
  • Graph the results of your findings

- Mix it up by challenging children to build the colours up as they count. Can they make all the blocks of one colour stack in one tower? Which colour of block would make the largest tower?

- Use the mathematical language that goes naturally with this activity, such as estimate, guess, least, more, larger than, smaller than.. etc.

- Have you see the rest of the Playful Maths series from us and The Imagination Tree?
Below are our previous posts using various everyday materials. 

Playful Maths with Pipe Cleaners
(Click the pictures to go to the post)
   number bead math game

Playful Maths Bottle Top Activities
(click the pictures to go to the posts)

Playful Maths Plastic Bottle Activities
(click the pictures to go to the posts)
   measuring activity, measuring for kids, rice play, sensory play, maths for kids, fun maths, hands-on maths  

Playful Maths Paper Tube Activities
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)
  maths for kids, fun maths, numeracy, maths activity

Playful Maths Egg Carton Activities
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)

Don't forget to join us next week where we're bringing you more Playful Maths activities.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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