Gather together a variety of lengths of string, of at least 3
metres long, each tied into a loop. Chalk and/or a camera would be
useful so that you can record the shapes made. A pair of scissors
might also come in handy.
Suggest to the children that they find a partner to work
'Big space' maths
Use everyday words to describe position
Join with another pair. Take it in turns to make one shape
inside/outside/next to/above/under another.
Explore other ways of working together. Tell me what you've
Count reliably up to ten everyday objects
Use language such as more or less to compare two
Does your shape have corners/sides? How many? What do you
Can you fit any children in your shape? If so, how many? If you
change your shape, will there be more or fewer children?
See what you can make. You could use both hands.
Tell me about what you've made.
Look at theirs - can you make one like it?
I like the shape you've made.
I wonder how you could change it?
I wonder what you could do next?
Use everyday and/or mathematical language such as
'straight', 'corner', 'bigger', 'side', 'longer', 'triangle' ... to
describe the shape and size of flat shapes
Let's look at what happens when we hold it on the ground.
What can we see?
Have you seen this sort of shape before? Where?
How is it the same as/different from others?
Would you like to change your shape in some way?
Would you like to make another shape?
Use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve
How could you make a shape with a different number of
What's the biggest object you can put your string around? What
would happen if we joined two or more pieces of string
Use photographs of the children's string shapes for sorting
and matching activities.
Have a go at Mrs Trimmer's String: http://nrich.maths.org/2907
In addition to these mathematical observations you will have
opportunities to observe other aspects of the EYFS Themes and
You may like to print off one of these sheets as an aide (1, 2, 3), on
which you can note down what individual children say and do as they
engage with the activity. Please do send us photos, further
suggestions and comments.