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Weekly Activities. Week 2 - Make a Woodland Abacus


Make a woodland abacus using discs cut from elder wood.

Links to EYFS:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding of the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design


For this weeks activity we started by asking the children to help find a suitable thick, straight stick that we could cut into discs for our counting frame or abacus. The children found a long stick made of elder wood which has a naturally soft centre making if ideal for drilling through. We used the bow saw to cut approximately 1 inch thick discs to use as our counting beads. The children used the hand drill to drill through the soft centre of their discs to make a hole to thread the wire through.

We then had an exciting trip out to a well known DIY store to buy some paint and wire. The children then painted their discs in a variety of vibrant colours. Once the paint was dry, we threaded the discs onto a piece of plastic coated wire that we had previously purchased from the shop. We then used two straight sticks made of hardwood and drilled holes towards the top of each that would enable us to tie wire between the sticks with the discs suspended in the middle. We could then put the sticks into the ground to make our woodland abacus.

We talked about using different natural items to count things including: leaves, stones, sticks, feathers, slate, grass, twigs and berries.

Home Activity:

Try some basic arithmetic using everyday items found from around the home or in your garden with your child. For example, you could use saucepans, cutlery, toys or even shoes to make it into a fun activity that will engage their enthusiasm and fuel imagination.

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