Short Blocks

Maths Reception Autumn Shapes and Patterns (A)

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.

Exploring and playing with symmetry (suggested as 5 days)

Maths Out Loud


Ask 10 children to sit at the front holding numbers 1 to 10. Child holding 1 stands up, then children shout 1! Child holding 2 stands up, children shout 2! Carry on until all ten are standing.

Shout 10! Child holding 10 sits down, children shout 9! Child holding 9 sits down, children shout 8! Carry on until no children are standing. All shout ZERO!

Repeat across the week to include all the children.


Sing along with Five little apples, e.g. this animated version at Ask children to hold up 5 fingers, then fold one down each time an apple falls from the tree.

Play an I-spy shapes game.


The hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Use this well-known book to stimulate discussion about the symmetrical pattern on the butterfly’s wings.

You Will Need

Exploring and Playing

Peg boards; pegs; mirrors (optional); gummed shapes; paper; mirrors (optional); small building bricks; doors and windows; salt dough/playdough in different colours; modelling tools; mirrors; branches and ribbons (optional).

Active Learning

Symmetrical butterfly template (enlarged and cut out – see example in resources); three paint colours; brushes; large mirror; flipchart and coloured pens; internet access; skipping rope per pair; camera (optional); real flowers, Symmetrical flower pictures (see resources), paint/collage materials, mirrors; folded cards; glue sticks; coloured pens/ pencils.

Creating and Thinking Critically

A small pizza for each child; mayonnaise; toppings, e.g. slices of pepperoni/ olives/ sweetcorn; camera/ phone suitable for children to take photographs; equipment to print photos; paper; paints and brushes; a range of paper shapes – some symmetrical, some not; 2 large sheets of paper.