Try this fun maths activity to teach primary school children how to count

Try this fun and engaging maths activity designed to teach primary school children how to count, taken from Claire Brewer and Kate Bradley’s new book 101 Inclusive and SEN Maths Lessons for P Level Learning.

Flying Saucersmaths activity


Large ball or material shaped into a circle, pre-made spaceman/alien masks or hats (not essential!)


  • In a group of five the children stand around the ball/material
  • The adult sings ‘Five little men in a flying saucer’ with actions as follows:
  • ‘Flew around the world one day’ – children pretend to fly around the ball/material
  • ‘They looked left and right’ – turn heads left and right
  • ‘But they didn’t like the sight’ – tap foot, shake head and wag finger
  • ‘So one man flew away’ – one child pretends to fly away from group and sits on the floor until the song has finished.

Plenary activity

Everyone lies back on the floor and relaxes. Put one hand in the air showing five fingers; sing the song quietly, this time indicating numbers using fingers.

Consolidation activity

Outside and in the playground play other number rhyme songs such as ‘Five little frogs’ in a similar way.

Skills learned

  • Auditory: listen to oral cues
  • Communication: respond to cues
  • Gross motor: large movements as part of songs
  • Kinaesthetic: completing song actions
  • Social communication: working in a small group

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