Short Blocks

Maths Reception Spring Position and Time

Hamilton's Reception Maths planning targets the key characteristics of effective early learning:

  • Through Exploring and Playing, children independently engage with their peers and their environment.
  • Active Learning group activities promote the motivation needed to be involved and to keep trying.
  • Guided Creating and Thinking Critically supports development of problem-solving & reasoning skills.

Maths Out Loud: whole-class counting, repetitive chants, rhymes, songs and a linked story to enjoy together.

Unit 1 Where is it? (suggested as 5 days)

Maths Out Loud

3-D Shapes

  • Give each child a 3-D shape to hold.
  • Display images of 3-D shapes on the interactive whiteboard OR stick 3-D shapes to the board using masking tape or sticky-tack.
  • Display a 3 by 3 grid of different shapes (see download).
  • Describe a shape by its position, e.g. It is above the black cuboid. OR It is beside the green cube.
  • Any child holding the same shape as the one you are describing, should stand up, i.e. any child holding a cube would stand up if you made the first statement.
  • Repeat, continuing to describe a shape on the grid with reference to its position.


The Grand Old Duke of York

Little Miss Muffet

Incey Wincey Spider

Half a pound of tuppenny rice. In this song, change the ‘on’ the table, to ‘under’ the table or to ‘beside’ the table, etc. Note up and down and in and out … what other position words could we use?


Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Little Star and other Shapes by J. Y. Quinn

You Will Need

Exploring and Playing

‘Animal bus’ (see resources); small world animals; assortment of materials for collage e.g. cubes, blocks, shapes, cotton wool, reels, paper etc; large paper; masking tape; plastic potato head or real potatoes; plastic body/ face parts or stick-on google eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms etc; glue; toy cars; large sheet of paper; ramps, bridges, etc.

Active learning

3 identical hats or hats made from boxes; cat soft toy; ‘L-hand’ (see resources); coloured dot stickers; 3-D shapes; ‘3 by 3 grid’ (see resources); ‘Position words’ (see resources); ‘4 by 4 grid’ (see resources), ‘3 by 3 grid’ (see resources); ‘Number tiles 0 – 10’ (see resources); hall space; mats; benches

Creating and Thinking Critically

Lego or Duplo™; ‘4 by 4 grid’ (see resources); basket; objects e.g. small figures, coloured beads etc., ‘Position word cards’ (see resources); conker or other small item; ‘Position words poster’ (see resources); 3-D shapes in different colours and sizes

Unit 2 Time (suggested as 5 days)

Exploring and Playing

  1. Clock collage
  2. Make a watch
  3. Is that the time?
  4. Clock jigsaw

Active Learning

  1. What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?
  2. Daily drama
  3. Muddled days
  4. All through the year

Maths Out Loud

Counting/ Talk

  • Use an analogue then digital clock to support counting on in steps of one hour from 8 o’clock in the morning to 8 o’clock in the evening.
  • Make a visual timetable to keep track of regular events in the school day – take photos with the children. Once familiar with the timetable, take off all the pictures, muddle them up, and ask children to help you sort them back into order! First, we have lunch, then we wash our hands. Oh, isn’t that right? Why not? Is it right that we go home at the beginning of the day?
  • Talk about day of the week at register time: What day comes after today? What day was it yesterday? What day comes after/before Tuesday? How many sleeps is it until the weekend/our outing?


Sing a song to help children to learn days of the week in order, e.g.

Days of the week singalong or Days of the week song.

Begin to explore o’clock times by singing the traditional rhyme ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’. Sing along with this version featuring lots of different animals, that has a surprise ending: Hickory Dickory…Crash!


Explore the order of events during the day by reading Frog and Toad Together: A List by Arnold Lobel. There is an on-screen version of this available too.

Read a story book about months, e.g. Month by Month, A Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields or Maisy’s Seasons by Lucy Cousins.

You Will Need

Exploring and Playing

Catalogues; Sticky notes; scissors; old watches (preferably both digital and analogue examples); thin card; felt-tipped pens; tape; geared analogue clock.

Active Learning

What’s the Time, Mr Wolf? by Debi Gliori (or same title by Annie Kubler); geared analogue clock; a long strip of paper; 13 cards; clock stamp; a story about days of the week, e.g. Oliver’s Vegetables by Vivian French; washing line and 7 pegs; days of the week cards; puppet; A Busy Year by Leo Lionni; month cards; balloon-shaped cards.

Creating and Thinking Critically

Geared analogue clock; digital clock; long strip of paper for the timeline; smaller pieces of paper for children’s pictures; 12 cards with times to the hour written as 8 o’clock (see resources), small clocks; bread; eggs; water; 4 different egg/sand timers (e.g. 3, 4, 5 and 6 minutes); saucepan; access to a hob and toaster; plates and cutlery; 4 egg cups (optional).