One of Finny’s favourite small world play activities is building a Numberland for his Numberblocks. He first started acting out scenes from Numberblocks aged two, using our duplo blocks as the characters. He still spends hours doing this even though he’s four.


  • Numberblocks characters from the CBeebies magazines.
  • Circus scarves

If you don’t have the CBeebies characters, you can make your own Numberblocks using Duplo.


When I walked in and found the numbers set up like this, I asked him to talk me through what he was doing. He sometimes uses addition, adding smaller number blocks together to make larger numbers. Other times he unknowingly explores early multiplication skills when he splits some of his numbers in to arrays. There is an activity using chocolates to make arrays here.

He then went on to make the numbers up to 20. This is why I am such a big advocate of learning through play. If I sat Finny down and tried to drill him on number facts, he would soon get bored and it would also dampen his love of learning. However leave him to play and explore the numbers his own way and he can keep going for hours. He enjoys making new discoveries and finding different ways of making each of the numbers.

Sometimes the Numberlocks invite their friends over to visit Numberland.

Below is a video of another day and another Numberland set up.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Numeracy Year 1 programme of study

Number – addition and subtraction

  • represent and use number bonds and within 20
  • add and subtract one-digit and two-digit numbers to 20, including zero

Number – multiplication and division

  • solve one-step problems involving multiplication and division, by calculating the answer using concrete objects, pictorial representations and arrays with the support of the teacher.