Number Line Matching Game

You will need:

  • Wire coat hanger
  • 5 paper cups
  • Foam shapes
  • Permanent marker pen
  • Sharp pencil (to pierce holes in the cups)
  • Magnetic numbers
  • Any numbers 1-5 (foam, card, stickers)


To make the number line,  I numbered each cup 1-5 using a permanent marker.  With a sharp pencil, I poked two holes on either side of the cup (holes need to be directly opposite one another).  I unravelled the top of the wire coat hanger to enable the cups to be threaded on.  J chose 5 different foam shapes and together we counted out the number of shapes needed for the front of each cup.  For example, 1 star, 2 squares, 3 circles and so on.  J started to stick the foam shapes onto the front of each cup.  This provided a simple visual to introduce the value of each number.  The number line will be used for many mathematical concepts as time goes by so this pictorial value is a important part of the number line.


Matching Game:

I gave J a basket with magnetic, foam and plastic numbers.  I also had a few stickers with numbers on for variation. We talked about the numbers on each cup and said we needed to sort our basket of numbers.  J identified that he could match them by looking at the ‘picture’ on the front.  I reminded him that each ‘picture’ is called a number.   He soon realised if he held up each number he could match it very quickly.  He loved this game and liked tipping the cups upside down and watching the numbers spill out on to the floor.  As he played, we talked and I said the number names as J matched the numbers.  This game not only helped J start to look at the numbers and recognise their shape but also he began to use the number names correctly (and incorrectly) as he played.

We have used this number line in many other ways since we made it and J still feels proud that he helped Mummy make it!

What did J learn?

  • Used some number names and number language accurately in play
  • Showed an interest in numerals in the environment
  • Recognising numbers 1-5
  • Matching and sorting according to a criteria

J’s Age: 2 years 4 months


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