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5 Easy Ways to Use Numicon at Home

Our tuition classes see children from ages 4 and up, so we often use visual aids and hands-on activities to teach early numeracy and literacy skills. 

We often advise that parents with younger children buy a Numicon homework set to use at home. Whilst we pack as much into our lessons as possible, it\’s always helpful for children to review our techniques at home on a regular basis in order to help them to retain the information.

We\’ve put together a video of five easy and quick activities that you can do at home. These activities will help your child to develop their understanding of number and enhance their mental addition skills from an early age. 

5 Easy Ways to Use Numicon to Teach Early Numeracy at Home


1. Recognising Frames

Lay out the frames from 1 to 10 and call out numbers at random. Ask your child to show you the relevant frame when you say each number. 

You can do this activity on a daily basis, just for a minute or two. 

This activity helps your child to visualise the number frames, which will help them with mental maths as they get older. 


As well as recognising frames, your child may enjoy stacking the frames. They can be left to do this independently. By playing with the frames, they will begin to realise how the numbers progress; they will see 5 is one more than 4, 4 is one more than 3, and so on. 

2. Making Numbers in Different Ways

Start with small numbers, like 4 or 3. Ask your child to find two different ways of making 4, e.g. 2 + 2 or 3 + 1. When your child has figured out which numbers add together, ask them to place the added frames on top of the original frame to see if they fit. 


Knowing these addition facts is incredibly helpful in giving your child a strong foundation in maths that will help with mental addition as they get older. Learning these facts at a young age will even help your child once they reach secondary school.

Flipping and rotating frames to make them fit will also develop your child’s spatial reasoning skills. If you eventually decide to have your child sit the 11+, you will be glad that you started developing your child’s non-verbal reasoning skills at an early age.

Do this activity regularly at home, progressing to higher numbers over time.

3. Making Large Numbers with Numicon

First draw a “T” and a “U”, standing for \”tens\”and \”units\”, and write out a number underneath. Start off with teen numbers, like 17. Ask your child to make this number using the Numicon. 


At first, many children will try to make 17 by simply putting down a “1” and a “7”. If your child does this, ask them to count the frames; they\’ll quickly see that 1 and 7 does not make 17. At this point, you may wish to give your child time to think to see if they can correct themselves.

Explain to your child that numbers in the units column are represented using the 1 to 9 frames. Numbers in the tens column must be made using the blue 10 frames. 

Continue to practise making teen numbers, referring to the tens and units columns as you go along. 

Once your child is confident in forming teens numbers with the Numicon, you can start going over 20. 

You may also find it helpful to make some multiples of 10, like 50. This will highlight to your child that multiples of 10 only require the ten frames and no units. 

4. Making Doubles

Set out the Numicon so that you have two of each frame. Ask your child to double each number in turn, e.g. say “show me double 3”; your should should take two 3 frames and put them together. Once your child has done this, they can tell you which number they’ve made. 

This is an another activity you should do regularly for a few minutes, picking up the pace each time. 


To practise doubles further, set out the 1 to 6 frames in pairs to make 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. Ask your child to lay the Numicon number cards underneath. Test them again on double each number. Once they have started to memorise the doubles from 1 to 6, you can move on to doubles of 7 to 12. 

When your child has learnt their doubles, you can move on to learning the two times table.

5. Bonds to 10

Children that attend tuition with us will have already been told some number stories using the Ten Town characters to help them to remember their bonds. This is done to provide further visual support for learning the bonds to 10. If your child is unfamiliar with the Ten Town characters, you can use the Numicon in isolation.

Start practising bonds to 10 by introducing the concept of trying to find two frames that will fit on top of the ten frame (much like you did when practising addition facts). 

If you put down a 9, your child will need to find which number will fit in the remaining space to make ten. Once they have found the correct frame, you can review the fact that 9 + 1 = 10. 

Once you’ve reviewed these pairs a few times, you can start increasing your speed. E.g. if you say, \”What goes with 7?” your child should quickly pick up a 3 and same the name of the number.

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