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Number walk

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Observation

Duration/age

Duration: 
Suitable for children: 
Location: 
Skills this activity improves: 
Gate 23 of a building

Have you ever noticed how many numbers there are around you? Next time you and your child are out walking take a look and see how many you can find.

You might find numbers in surprising places. Remember to look up high and down low. Look on letterboxes and doors, gates and fences.

There’s a number on that fencepost. Can you read it?

Talk about why houses and buildings have numbers. Can you work out the patterns?

This is number 3, then comes 5, then comes 7. What will the next one be?

Sometimes there are extra numbers like in big apartment buildings or flats.

There’s 2/27. Why do you think there are two lots of numbers?

Look for numbers in unusual places. Cars have numbers on the number plates but that’s not the only place. Some manhole and access covers have numbers on them too.

Can you see numbers on the postbox? What do they tell us?

Some street signs and advertising signs also have numbers. Once you start looking you’ll find them everywhere. Where else can you find a number?

Materials you will need

  • Your eyes

Why does this matter?

Children learn to recognise numbers, or numerals, when they see them more often. As your child is finding numbers they will be learning to read them. When you talk to them about the names of the numbers they are developing an understanding that 2 always means 2 and 5 always means 5. Noticing patterns with numbers - like house numbers - helps children to understand how we can use numbers.

Your child will begin to understand that numbers can carry different sorts of information. For example, house numbers help us find the right house, phone numbers help us to contact someone, and numbers on postboxes give us information about what time the mail is collected.

What does this lead to?

We frequently use numbers in our daily lives, like security codes, phone numbers and so on. The more familiar we are with numbers, and with the patterns we can make with them, the easier it is to remember them.

Language to use

  • Number, numeral
  • House, home, flat, apartment, unit
  • Postbox, address, time
  • Fence, gate, door, letterbox
  • Number plate, manhole cover
  • 1, 2, 3 . . . 75
  • One, two, three . . . seventy five
  • This one, next one

Questions to use

  • What number is our house? What about Gran’s house?
  • Where else can we find numbers?

Useful tips

You might like to take a look at the activities Writing a letter or card and Walking to post a letter.

More ideas

Take a clipboard, some paper and a pencil so your child can write down the numbers that they find.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

  • Write a letter to a friend and post it. Talk about why an address gets written on an envelope.

Questions to ask

  • Can you write the number 17 on the front of the envelope?

Language to use

  • Write, letter, card
  • Address, number, street, suburb, postcode
  • Post, postbox, postie