It was only when Ioan started reading that I realised how tricky most of the numbers are to read. This is a ‘game’ he invented with his magnets to help him familiarise himself with the number words.


  • Stickly labels with written numbers on
  • Magnets with numbers written on
  • Magnetic numbers
  • Magnetic letters
  • Magnatiles
  • Variety of magnets


Ioan made sure there were all the letters needed to spell the number words, but not enough to spell them all at once.

He then put all the sticky labels in chronological order along the radiator, matching them to the number magnet and magnet with the name written on. He also started spelling them with the magnetic letters.

A few numbers in, he ran out of magnetic letters, so had to ‘steal’ from another number. This was all his idea, but it was brilliant as it meant he kept referring back to the spellings of the other numbers too.

As he worked through the numbers he started running out of round magnets, so had to steal those from other numbers too. I encouraged him to find two smaller numbers he could add together to give him the right number of round magnets.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Personal, social and emotional development

ELG 06 – Self-confidence and self-awareness:

Children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.


ELG 09 – Reading:

Children use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.


ELG 11 – Numbers:

Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.