Back in the days when I was teaching I always aimed at having a classroom that was a literacy and numeracy rich environment. Creating a ‘rich print’ of numbers, letters and words as a visual focus for kids to observe, recall and refer to during their learning and everyday activities.
Now that I am a parent, I still like to make this a priority for my kids and have this rich print around the house. I like to involve my kids in creating this environmental print, making it more purposeful and fun!
This is part of the reason why we have created our Number Tree, to use it as a fun display of bright coloured numbers to add to our environmental print. We have reused our paper mache tree and turned it into a Number Tree Display.
You can download and print off these numbers to make your own display below.
What you will need?
You will need the Printable Numbers and coloured paper. You may alternatively print off the numbers onto white paper and have the kids colour or paint them. I printed off two copies of each page and also laminated our numbers to help make them last longer and to reuse them again later.
The paper mache tree is one option, we have just reused ours from previous activities but you could also make a cut out paper tree and stick it up on the wall for kids to place the numbers. The leaves on our paper mache tree have been made using layers of folded green crepe paper cut into leaf shapes and my kids just sticky taped them on.
Useful link: How to make a paper mache tree?
Click here to download and print: Printable Numbers – Number Tree Display
To add a bit more excitement and fun to this activity, rather than just sticking the numbers onto the tree, we placed all the numbers into a bag and each child had to pull one number out at a time and say what the number was. Then we sang the Nursery Rhyme This Old Man before placing the numbers onto the tree.
This old man he played (pull out a number) ’2’,
He played knick knack on my shoe,
With a knick knack patty wack give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.
Repeat the song for each number taken out of the bag and adding in the appropriate words to the song to match.
This was great to familiarise and expose Miss 21months to numbers as she was watching, copying and doing the actions, repeating and attempting to repeat some of the words that were being said.
Miss 4 having a turn at pulling a number out of the bag. It was really interesting to watch as she placed the number 4 onto the tree, she was turning and moving it around to make sure it is the correct way up.
The other set of numbers that we had printed off were put up onto the wall with Blu-Tac and my kids were able to move the numbers around. They played with the numbers by moving them into different orders, counting from zero to nine and also counting backwards. Miss 4 and 5 also made new numbers by putting two numbers together and sorting them into groups according to colour.
The importance of environmental print:
Exposing children to a print rich environment helps them recognise and understand that print means something as they are attempting to make sense of the world around them. It also assists them in developing pre-reading skills.
Some Examples of environmental print:
- Books, signs, posters, labels, charts, cereal boxes, magazines, murals, child’s work, calendars and chalk or white boards.