Stacking Cup Number & Counting Game

Stacking cup number and counting game

I’m sure that most people have stacking cups in their home; they seem to be a staple of any children’s toybox. Here is a new way to use them for older toddlers to help with both number recognition and counting skills (with a little colour work thrown in for good measure!).

EYFS Areas Developed:

  • Mathematics: matching numeral and quantity, showing interest in number problems, counts objects to 10, counts out objects from a larger group
  • Expressive arts & design: explores and differentiates between colours

This activity not only encourages number recognition for little ones but also gives them the opportunity to count out a particular number of objects. The different coloured beads and cups are also a great way to practise an added skill; colour differentiation!

Stacking cup number game 1

I particularly love how versatile this activity is! It can be adapted to differentiate it for your child’s abilities (ideas of how to do this listed at the end of the post) meaning it can be accessed by all children.

Sophia (2.3yrs) is really taking an interest in numbers at the moment and loves counting anything she can lay her hands on. So I decided to use our stacking cups to create a number activity for us to do together.

Stacking cup number game 4

I cut up some squares of paper and wrote out numbers 1-8 on them. I used a little tape to secure each number to a stacking cup, 1 on the smallest, 8 on the largest and so on. I then sorted beads into a bowl; you could use any small, coloured manipulative that you have handy, pompoms work well too.

Stacking cup number game 3

We lined the cups up from 1 to 8 and set to work. I pointed out the number to Sophia and modelled putting that many beads into the cup in the matching colour. After a few times of showing her she was able to mostly count out the rest with only a little support.

Stacking cup number game 2

I encouraged her to say the number names as she put each bead into the cup and stop when she had put in the correct number. We recounted the beads in each cup to double check.

Stacking cup number game 10

Stacking cup number game 7

This activity is perfect for encouraging mathematical and colour language. Praise your child for using the number names and colour names as well as making observations about the size and shape of the stacking cups. Sophia used; big, small, round and tiny when she was speaking about the cups and beads.

Stacking cup number game 11

Stacking cup number game 6

Ways to make this activity more challenging:

  • Allow children to write their own number labels
  • Once numbered, encourage children to put the stacking cups in the correct numerical order
  • If your child knows numbers higher than 10, increase the numbers. Why not try 11-20?

Ways to simplify this activity:

  • If your child doesn’t recognise numbers just yet, draw dots instead and have them count each picture to determine how many beads to add. Alternatively you could verbally instruct them to put a certain number of beads into each cup
  • Lower the numbers for your child. Try labelling 1-3 or 1-5 instead
  • Use clear pots instead of coloured cups to take out the colour element and focus purely on number

Why not have a look at my Maths Activities board on Pinterest for more creative ideas!

Follow Beth @ Wings and Roots’s board Maths Activities on Pinterest.

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