Early maths

What is mathematics and why is it so important to early childhood development?

“It is an often overlooked fact that we all, whether children or adults, are constantly using and applying mathematics in our everyday lives.” Says Di Hatchett, Founding Trustee at National Numeracy.

“Research into children’s development and learning in the early years confirms that early experiences have long-lasting outcomes in terms of educational achievement and life chances.”

As a childcare professional you can make a real difference to ensure every child has a chance to become a confident learner and user of mathematics. Here you’ll find a handy round-up of key resources, products, blogs and activities to help you support mathematics in the early years.

Free members’ resources


If you're a member of PACEY you can access these resources for free by logging into the MyPACEY members' area.

Numbers, shapes and problem solving practice guide

This practice guide, written by PACEY experts, covers:

  • Learning about numbers, shapes and problem solving
  • Role of the key person and an enabling environment
  • Songs and rhyme
  • Maths outdoors
  • Numbers and shapes
  • Problem solving
  • Supporting the home learning environment

Numbers, shapes and problem solving factsheet

This fantastic factsheet gives an introduction into supporting children’s mathematical development in your childcare setting. It gives practical examples and ideas and a reflective task to try.

Members' tips

We asked members on our Facebook page to share their top tips for including maths every day.



We stock a range of products to help you build budding maths learners in your setting. 

Mathematics in the early years

A must-read book for your setting. Mathematics in the early years shows how everyone can include maths in their setting. The book gives practitioners and parents confidence to use mathematical language and show children that maths is part of everyday life.

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Big number jigsaw puzzle

Designed to help with number recognition and counting skills from one to twenty, this bold and colourful jigsaw can either be played on a table or on the floor.  There are also activities and questions detailed on the reverse of the box which will encourage further discussion.

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Match and count puzzles

Teaching number recognition, counting skills and matching pictures with numbers, this fun game is the perfect aid to early mathematical development.


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Catch and count game

Teaching number recognition, counting skills and game play and turn taking, this fun game is the perfect aid to early mathematical development.

Spin the Octopus and see how many fish you can catch, but do take care, there's a shark out there!

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Ten green bottles game

Teaching number recognition, counting skills and recycling, this fun game, based on the popular song, is the perfect aid to early mathematical development.


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Read more on the subject of mathematics with our blogs provided by experts.

Maths: it's an attitude – Julia Sudbury, Head Consultant, Cambridge Early Years

We use maths in every aspect of our lives. However, here in the UK we have a long term and increasing issue with low levels of numeracy in the adult population. Early years practitioners can use simple tips to create a positive attitude towards maths, to help make a step in the right direction. 

Play by numbers – Dr Amanda Gummer, Fundamentally Children

This blog explores a few examples of the toys and activities you can provide to encourage development in some of the areas of numeracy, for early years and Key Stage 1. Read on to find more about how children can develop their mathematics skills at different ages and stages.

How do you support the development of maths in the early years? - Judith Dancer

Get a taster of what to expect from our book – Mathematics in the Early Years with these fun, practical activities that include “the number robber” and mud kitchens. Sounds like fun right?

Get involved

Support our campaign to inspire children with early maths on social media by tweeting and retweeting using the hashtag #earlymaths.

Here are two suggested tweets:

  • Inspire our children with #earlymaths in learning and through play
  • Give every child the chance to become a confident maths learner #earlymaths