A tally chart is a simple way of recording and counting frequencies. Each occurrence is shown by a tally mark and every fifth tally is drawn diagonally to make a “gate” of five. The tallies can then be counted easily to give the frequency.


  • Fruit sorting game
  • Bath crayons
  • Tuff tray


Ioan decided he was going to make a tally of the fruit in our sorting game. He started off by sorting the fruit into colours.

Transferring the fruit was harder than it looks!

He wrote up the colours in the tally chart. When collecting the information, for every fruit that was a particular colour, a line would be drawn in the correct box on his chart.


Ioan started with the oranges, there were five. When he got to five lines, the fifth line needed to be crossed through the first four to make his “gate”. This makes counting the lines at the end easier.


There were ten yellow fruit, so he needed two gates this time.


Another ten for his tally chart. This time Ioan decided to leave a bit more space between his two gates of five, so it was easier to read when he was counting up.


He grouped all the reds, purples and pinks as ‘pink’. This was the largest category, with a total of twenty, meaning he needed four gates of five.


Finally, Ioan counted up the blue fruit. He was a bit dubious about having green limes, but thought it would be hard to pick up tiny blueberries. Again, there were five.

Tally charts can then be used to construct bar charts or pictograms.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Numeracy Year 2 programme of study


  • interpret and construct simple pictograms, tally charts, block diagrams and simple tables
  • ask and answer simple questions by counting the number of objects in each category and sorting the categories by quantity
  • ask and answer questions about totalling and comparing categorical data.