Make these bright and fun number rocks for counting, calculations and other maths games activities for kids! Perfect to use for preschoolers to primary/ elementary school aged children and in free play too.
A few years ago we first made our number and alphabet pebbles for free play using pebbles collected on the beach and sharpie permanent markers to write on. They are great in the sand and water table and were used for so many things, including this awesome alphabet rocks construction site game which they loved!
Over the past few months I’ve been really enjoying using some paint pens to draw on pebbles, from numbers and letters to story stones and sintering quotes. It’s quite addictive and I share lots over on my Instagram feed. I thought it was time to add to our collection with some new number rocks, this time using bright colours and a clear varnish over the top to seal them. [Amazon affiliate links.]
The kids have loved them as they are bright and shiny (the recipe for being appealing, so it would seem!) A simple resource like this is fantastic for adding to a number themed play basket and has SO many possible variants as ways to play and learn, that they can be used by a wide range of ages.
I have included seven different ways to play and learn with the rocks in this post, and there are of course many more too. So, starting from the top picture, simply ask your preschooler to name each numeral and find them for you in a little treasure hunt game. These could be buried in the sand, turned over on a table or simply laid out on a tray. Make it fun, playful and meaningful and follow their lead!
Second photograph, can you put the number rocks into the right order, starting from 1 and ending at 10? Then use it as a number line and count along it to make sure they’re all there! Use a pointer to count or jump along with a little toy animal for fun. Frogs are great at bouncing along number lines!
Next, ask them to cover their eyes and mix up the number line. Oh no! What’s happened to the numbers, can you help to sort them out? A naughty puppet or soft toy that likes to always create maths mischief is a great way to add to the game, especially in a class setting. We had a naughty parrot in my Reception/ Kindergarten class that liked to eat numbers, hide them, mix them up and create challenges. The kids loved him and responded well to his prompts!
Can you use the single digit number rocks to create double digits? Call out numbers for them to create. It could become part of another challenge too, such as finding 1 more or 1 less than a given number, 10 more or 10 less, half or double etc. This makes it a great extension activity and challenge for year 1 and 2 children too (approx 5-7 year olds.)
Can you separate the odd and even numbers from each other? Then can you count along the lines, skip counting as you go? Again, use a counting pointer or a fun little animal friend to help you count! As a next step to skip counting you could introduce simple times tables counting, asking them to all out all numbers in the 2 times table for example. You’d need to make a set of teen numbers for that game too.
Shall we use the numbers to create some simple maths problems? I made some addition, minus and equals symbols on a few spare rocks and those extended the play possibilities even further! You’d certainly need the extra set of teen numbers for creating bigger calculations. You could ask them to roll some dice and add up the total amounts using the rocks to show the answers.
There are so many more ways to play too and to make these work for toddlers to at least year 2 / grade 2 level learning. Add in a multiplication and division symbol and you’ve extended it even further! You could add some more rocks with dots on for matching together amounts with the corresponding numerals too.
For younger children it’s great just to play with the rocks and get used to seeing with numerals often. Hide them in a sensory tub, sand table, tub of soil, use them with the digger trucks in a gravel pit and fishing nets in a water tray. Just let them play and see what they do!
See more PLAYFUL MATHS ideas here in the archives.
Visit our MATHS PLAY pinterest board for more, work-sheet free ideas!
I’ve got more learning rocks coming up very soon! Check back to see those in a post later this week.
[This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for your support!]
Rachael Jess says
What a fantastic idea!
This is a clever idea, so creative. In the coming weeks I hope to create a couple tic tax toe tables for my back yard and gift giving. They will be made with river rock (smooth flattish stones) and pieces of tree trunk. While I have the pains out, I think I’ll paint a batch of these number rocks! So cool.