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Muddy Faces

INSPIRATIONS - outdoor maths

A collection of outdoor maths activities for the early years and primary age using natural materials.

Curriculum Outdoors


Maths is everywhere and to quote Juliet Robertson "Every moment is a maths moment!"

There are a lot of fab ideas out there for exploring maths outdoors. We have put together a few simple favourites in this inspiration activity page to get you started.

*Muddy Faces actively promotes child-led outdoor play & learning. We recognise and believe in the curiosity that children have and their drive to explore and discover. We hope that you will bear this in mind when considering more prescribed activities like some of those here - often much more creative ideas will occur if resources are simply provided and children are given the time and space to explore independently.

What you'll need

This activity has been provided by

Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

  • natural resources - only gather fallen sticks, don't pull them off a growing tree or bush
  • leave no trace - take your resources home with you

Health & Safety Considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • safe use of tools or fire

Number & Counting

ten frame on bag with conkers

make a 10 frame bag

Elder beads on a piece of string to us as a counting string

make your own elder bead string

Boy counting apples

so many things to count!!

Use sticks to...

Two children comparing length of sticks

Compare lengths

Put sticks in order or find a pattern

Make a 1m square maths set

Use string to...

Explore Spirals

Measure the girth of a tree

Estimate the age of tree - a tree will increase its girth by approx 2.5cm in a year

Two boys making a circle using string and stick and chalk. compass

Draw a big circle

Make a compass with stick and string

Some shape ideas

Simple stick shapes

Geo Pattern shapes

Go 3D!

Some estimation ideas

How many sticks are in the pile?

An alternative to how many sweets in the jar!

How long until the first kernel pops?!

Make a sieve popcorn cooker

How many pebbles to make the container sink?

More pebble problem solving here

More maths activities

Make a counting rope

A great activity to practice fine motor skills and tool use ending up with an outdoor maths abacus.

Read More about Make a counting rope

Pebble creature maths

Use pebble creatures to make outdoor maths activities more fun!

Read More about Pebble creature maths

Make a clock

A really simple idea to create a bright and tactile clock.

Read More about Make a clock
MFL216 Sum Building600


Have a look at the maths section of our shop - full of natural resources & our UK Grown wood products.

Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.

Key Features


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