I left some Toy Story characters and numbers out in their sun tent, for them to discover. We often use an invitation to play, like this to start them off with their Maths. It means they are free to choose what they do with the materials, allowing them to work at their own level.


  • Toy story characters
  • Log slices with numbers and +, – and = written on
  • Dice with various numbers on
  • Number line
  • Numberblocks


Ioan was the first to find these, getting straight to work on some addition using a number line.

Finn soon discovered what Ioan was up to and had a go at some addition of his own.

This was all child led, so after Finn had worked out that his answer was 17, they came up with the idea to investigate how many different ways they could make seventeen.

Ioan talked through the other number bonds he would need to make his ten and seven.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Numeracy Year 1 programme of study

Number – addition and subtraction

  • read, write and interpret mathematical statements involving addition (+), subtraction (–) and equals (=) signs
  • represent and use number bonds and related subtraction facts within 20
  • add and subtract one-digit and two-digit numbers to 20, including zero
  • solve one-step problems that involve addition and subtraction, using concrete objects and pictorial representations, and missing number problems such as  7 = _  – 9.