How to Make A Necklace. Procedural Text Investigation Provocation

Procedural Text Investigation Provocation

This term in Grade One we are exploring Procedural Texts. The children will be writing a simple procedural text as their assessment piece. To help them explore the structure of Procedural Texts, we have many of our Investigation Areas set up with procedures for the children to read and follow.

Grade One Assessment. Creating a Procedural Text

Links to the Curriculum

One of the most popular Investigation Areas has been the Art and Craft provocation – How to Make a Necklace. When designing a provocation many curriculum objectives are considered. This provocation reinforces many learning intentions:


  • Read and comprehend a procedural text.
  • Explore the structure of a procedural text.


  • Create, record and continue a repeating pattern.
  • Counting to 30.
  • One-to-one correspondence.
  • Sorting by size, shape and colour.
  • Functional problem solving.


  • Investigate materials and their properties.

Fine Motor

  • Developing the pincer grip.
  • Translation, shift and rotation refinement.
  • Visual Perception and Discrimination skills.
  • Hand – Eye coordination.

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Sharing, turn taking and cooperation
  • Feeling of success which boosts self-esteem.
Beading Provocation. How to Make a Necklace
Provocation - How to Make a Necklace
Beading promotes fine motor skills
Beading promotes fine motor skills.

Setting Up the Procedural Text Investigation Area

This Investigation Area has been designed to be used by up to 4 children. Many more than 4 children request to work here each day, but it was limited to only 4 at any time. Allowing only a smaller number of children to work in this area encourages the children to take turns and negotiate conflicts. This number is also the perfect size for socialising and encouraging the children to help each other. Designing smaller spaces and limiting the number of children in any Investigation Area helps with engagement, oral language and noise levels.


A selection of beads in small dishes

Provide acrylic, glass and wooden beads in a variety of sizes, colours and shapes. Present the beads in small clear dishes if possible as this allows the children to visually discriminate between the beads.

A piece of white fabric or card

Placing the small dishes of beads on a piece of white fabric or card is visually appealing and allows the true colours of the beads to be seen. It also encourages the children to keep the space orderly as the bead dishes have an obvious organisational place.

Acrylic beading string

Our strings were purchased pre-cut but it would have been preferable to have the children measure and cut the string length themselves. The acrylic Scoubi string is ideal for beading projects with young children. It doesn’t fray. The string is strong enough that no threading needle is necessary and yet flexible enough to easily knot. This durable string won’t break and the completed necklace hangs nicely around the child’s neck.

4 pieces of felt

The felt makes a great beading work mat. The beads won’t roll off the table and end up in the cleaner’s vacuum cleaner. The children can easily plan their necklace pattern by laying the beads on the felt without the frustration of having their beads roll away. An alternative to felt would be pieces of grip mat.

How to Make a Necklace Procedure

This could be one large poster text on the wall or small individual texts on the table. If you choose to have the smaller texts, ensure you have at least 2 laminated copies. Laminating the procedure or placing it in a plastic sleeve will ensure it stands up to the wear and tear of continued use.

Printed planning sheets

Children will record their planned pattern on these planning sheets. Place them in a tray or basket off to the side. The children will need to access them easily but they should not intrude on the work space. Having them in a tray or basket keeps them confined and again encourages the children to keep the space orderly.

Tin of colouring pencils or crayons

Children record their necklace pattern by colouring the beads on their planning sheet. Ensure the beads you offer have a matching colour pencil or crayon in the tin.

Teaching procedural texts with this play based provocation
How to Make a Necklace. Investigation Area
Scoubi string is perfect for little hands to bead with
Scoubi string is perfect for little fingers to bead with
Felt makes a great mat for beading projects.
A felt mat will stop your beads from rolling away
Free printable planning sheet and procedural text for teaching children procedural texts
Planning Sheet and Procedural text

Download and print your FREE Procedure and Planning Sheet to have this Investigation Area up and running in your classroom today!

If you would like these free resources, you might like to join My Teaching Cupboard’s Email Group. I don’t send out emails very often though. You will get access to my FREE Resource Library when you sign up. In the FREE Resource LIbrary, you’ll find the Necklace Planning Sheets and the Procedure for How To Make a Necklace along with some other resources I know you’ll find useful.

Free printable planning sheet and procedural text for teaching children procedural texts
STEAM activities for the Early Childhood Classroom

STEAM Activities

Looking for STEAM activities to challenge your children?

I designed 30 STEAM activities presented as stimulus prompt cards. They engage and challenge my children as they explore concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. STEAM activities take STEM activities to the next level. The A (Arts) gives children the opportunity to develop their creative thinking skills alongside their critical thinking skills.

STEAM classroom

Why teach STEAM?

STEAM activities are gaining popularity in today’s classrooms.  They give children opportunities to develop the skills that will be essential in their future. Employers will be sourcing workers with STEAM capabilities. It makes sense to be developing these skills early.

The STEAM curriculum is highly engaging. Children love the challenges of solving problems and approach these activities with enthusiasm.  The activities provide opportunities for hands-on learning and integrate seamlessly into the play based classroom.

Another benefit of incorporating STEAM activities into the classroom is the social aspect. Children are encouraged to collaborate to solve a problem and create a new way of expressing their ideas. Both social skills and oral language skills are always a focus in an early childhood classroom and STEAM challenges are an ideal way to foster them.

The process of working together allows children to learn from each and see solutions they may not have independently thought of. Higher order thinking skills are developed through STEAM activities and include both critical and creative thinking skills.

It’s important to remember the process is the focus of any STEAM activity. The end product is not as important as how it was created. The journey is where the learning happens.

The beauty of STEAM activities is that everyone has something to offer. Everyone can succeed. The activities are innately differentiated. As they do in play, children will work in their zone of proximal development.

What it Looks Like in My Classroom

Whole Class STEAM Challenges

Once a week I timetable in a whole class STEAM challenge. I display the specific prompt straight from the .pdf file onto our interactive panel.

Sometimes the children work individually but more often I have them work with a friend. I like them working collaboratively. Sometimes the children choose their partner and sometimes I choose for them. I usually tell the children who their partner will be as I have noticed if a more able student works with a less able, everyone stays engaged and greater learning takes place.

STEAM prompt for whole class lesson

Later in the year, after the children are familiar with the STEAM activities, I might put 3 children together. However, this changes the whole dynamics and sometimes has one child as a spectator so I prefer groups of 2. Collaboration is important as social skills are fostered during STEAM work.

Link STEAM to the Curriculum

I plan a STEAM challenge with the curriculum learning intentions in mind. I decide if I want a Math, English or Science focus. Here are a few examples of some of our challenges:


  • How many ways can you represent this number using these resources?
  • How many ways can you represent this shape?
  • Use these materials to make a ruler.
  • Use the materials to make a tool to measure length.



  • Use these resources to make this book character.
  • Make the setting from this book with these resources.
  • Design an object that has the /ow/ sound in its name.


I set a time limit on their working time. This helps with engagement and creates a sense of urgency. When the timer goes, we all down tools and I nearly always get complaints! I set the timer for 15 to 20 minutes and give 5 minute and 1 minute warnings.  Before I press start on the timer, I remind children to think about how they will be representing their knowledge. I like to give the partners a chance to discuss and plan first.

What resources should you offer?

The resources I provide are planned and already prepared. If I’m organised, they are compiled into clip-lock bags. At other times, I put trays or baskets containing the resources around the room and the children are given time to collect the supplies themselves. This happens before the timer starts. Always check each group has the correct supplies before that timer starts.

I have compiled a comprehensive list of resources that I use for my STEAM challenges. You can download the full list for FREE in my Resource Library. If you would like a couple of pages from the full list, I have a sample here.

I use resources that are readily available in early childhood classrooms and if not, they can be purchased cheaply.

DOWNLOAD a Free sample of My Teaching Cupboard's FREE STEAM Resources List
List of easily accessible classroom resources I use in my STEAM Challenges.
Full List of STEAM Resources

If you liked the sample list of resources, you might like to join My Teaching Cupboard’s Email Group. I don’t send out emails very often though. You will get access to my FREE Resource Library when you sign up. In the FREE Resource LIbrary, you’ll find the full STEAM resource list along with some other resources I know you’ll find useful.

4 Steps in Planning Resources

1. Building Base: When planning the resources to provide in a STEAM activity, I always have 1 or 2 construction materials. These act as a building base. Paper, card or playdough are common. I have many more options in the free download list though. You can easily alter these base materials by changing their attributes. Think about changing the size, shape, colour or texture of paper offered.

2. Joiners: Next, I’ll choose something the children can use to join the base materials. Glue, tape, string or wire perhaps. Again, these can be altered. Glue could be either a glue stick, PVA in a squeeze bottle or maybe a tub of Clag. Tape might be cello-tape, masking tape or washi tape. These are usually included in their clip-lock bag but sometimes I will just tell the children they are free to use glue if they wish. It is interesting to see which glue they use when given that option.

3. Tools: Then I add something that can alter the base building material. Scissors or paper punches might be an option for paper and card. If you are having a focus on measuring in Math, add a ruler as a tool. Pop sticks and toothpicks make great little tools to alter playdough.

4. Creative Oddball: Finally, I add a creative oddball. This inclusion takes the activity from a STEM to a STEAM challenge. I’ll usually look at the collage trolley for some inspiration. I might include a black and a white feather, or 3 pompoms of different sizes, or maybe even all of these. The children are not always required to use every resource I provide unless of course I make that a rule at the start. They are not allowed to use any other materials or tools other than those I provide though.

Each group gets exactly the same resources.

You might like to repeat the challenge the following week but change the materials supplied. This benefits the children by helping them build on prior knowledge. You will notice them incorporate newly learned ideas a second time around.

Sharing time

It is very important to review and reflect on the STEAM challenge with the children. This reflection helps the children process their learning and thinking. When the timer goes, we stop building immediately. After the initial “Ohhh Nooo!”, we clean up our work space. Then the children are free to walk around and observe other teams results. I often hearing them question each other or offer some constructive feedback to one another.

We will then return to the carpet meeting place and have a class discussion reflecting on the task. Some points we might discuss include:

  • How effective were the materials for this task?
  • What’s another material you would have liked included?
  • What problems did you face? How did you tackle that problem?
  • What was successful for you? Why?
  • Was there too much time allowed or not enough?
  • What would you change next time?
  • Did you see a great idea from another team?
STEAM challenge. Can you build a castle?
STEAM challenge. Can you make a tree?
STEAM challenge. Can you make a pyramid?

Investigation Prompts

I have a play-based classroom. The STEAM activity cards I have designed play a vital role as provocations in my investigation areas.

I use them regularly at the play dough table, in the box construction area, at the wooden blocks, with lego and at the collage table. The prompt card I choose to display always relates to a current curriculum learning intention. I plan and design specific provocations around both the learning intention and the resources I have.

3D Shape Provocation:   When we were learning about 3D shapes, I set up this provocation on a small table. Desert sand (purchased at the pet shop) was placed in a tray. Next to the tray, I offered some small wooden blocks, some glass gems and a few pop sticks and matchsticks. These resources were presented in bowls next to the prompt card on display. I try to add something which is not obviously related to the task (like the glass gems). It’s interesting to see whether the children choose to use that material and what they do with it.

STEAM challenge. Pyramid building prompt.
STEAM Challenge. Farm prompt

Farm Provocation:   When we were learning about living things and their habitats,  I added this STEAM prompt to our blocks construction area. I offered some farm animals, blocks, fabric and stones. Sometimes the children will get a resource from another part of the classroom and I encourage that resourceful thinking. These STEAM challenges are not as strict as the whole class activities.

Another strategy I have found useful is to take the STEAM prompt from a whole class challenge and then place it in an investigation area the following week. This is a wonderful way to have children expand their thinking and build on what they learned in the whole class lesson.

Looking for STEAM activities to challenge your children?

You will love these 30 STEAM cards. I designed them as stimulus prompts for children exploring concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. These inviting prompts will help your children develop their higher order thinking skills by challenging them to think both creatively and critically.

You will receive a .pdf file containing 30 STEAM Prompt cards. They are presented in A4 format but can easily be reduced in size by choosing the tiled option on your printer. You might like to print 2 or 4 to a page. I do recommend printing them at a high quality to achieve the stunning quality.

The 10 essential areas of a play based classroom

The 10 Essential Areas of A Play Based Classroom

In my play based classroom there are 10 essential learning areas. I cannot do without them. The provocations and resources offered in these areas change throughout the year dependent on children’s interests and the curriculum intent. The placement of these 10 areas within the classroom is thoughtfully planned at the beginning of each year. I don’t usually move the areas around the classroom throughout the year.  Very often an area will have multiple objectives and will include cross-curricular experiences. When adding provocations to each area, the original purpose for that space guides what is offered there.

1. Carpet Space and Meeting Area

This area is always as large as I can possibly get away with. We play a variety of circle games. You need a large carpet space to comfortably fit a whole class seated in a circle. The carpet space includes my teacher chair, teaching easel or whiteboard and our interactive panel. Any resources I need for whole class lessons are within easy reach. I don’t teach very many whole class lessons but when I do, they happen on this carpet space.

2. Block Construction

Wooden block play is a staple in most play based classrooms. You need a reasonable space large enough for 4 or 5 children to build together or individually. I place the shelf holding the wooden blocks and loose parts along one side of the carpet space we use as a meeting area.  That large carpet space isn’t wasted then. It serves a dual purpose. During Investigation time, it is used for block constructions and during focused teaching time, it serves as a meeting place.

block construction in a play based classroom
Add fabric to block construction area
3. Dramatic Play

The dramatic play space is another area requiring quite a bit of room. This play based area is where oral language, social skills and problem solving are refined. It is always a popular space so it needs to accommodate at least 4 children.

The props in the dramatic play area tend to take up a lot of space so I position it in a large corner of the classroom. Position the dramatic play space in a corner so 2 walls are available to display environmental print. I usually use a small gazebo to define the space. The gazebo makes it easy to create a third wall by hanging a sheet or curtain from the frame. The roof of the gazebo also makes the space cozy and helps reduce noise.

4. Writing Table

This literacy area has a large table or group of tables preferably seating 6 to 8 children. I need this many seats because I use this table as my explicit teaching table during small group instruction later in the day. Next to this large writing table I have a 16 cube Ikea KALLAX shelving unit. This is a great room divider and defines the space beautifully. All our writing tools are stored on this shelving unit. Pens, paper, envelopes, sticky-notes, journals, list pads, magnetic letters, small blackboards & whiteboards, dictionaries etc are all accessible for the children to use as they wish at the writing table. I store a few of my literacy teaching tools on the top shelves.

class writing area in play based classroom
Library reading corner in my reggio inspired classroom
5. Reading Area

Our cozy reading area provides another literacy space in the classroom. I have a wooden single bed base with a light mattress and a number of pillows and cushions. A low light lamp and a net canopy is a must for this area to create a cozy atmosphere. This is a quiet space so I like to position it away from the louder spaces like dramatic play. I like to position the bed along a wall so that the cushions can be supported along the length of the bed. In Winter I add a couple of little soft blankets. There are usually a few teddy bears waiting on the bed too.

The books are stored on a low bookcase. This bookcase is the same length as the bed so I position it in line with the bed and place a rug on the floor to help define the space. The bed takes up space in the room and I have often thought of replacing it with a much smaller sofa or some large floor cushions but the children just love the coziness the bed creates. The bed comes in handy when a child isn’t feeling well or just needs a little calm down time. I think it’s worthwhile.

Autumn Provocation from My Teaching Cupboard
6. Science and Nature Table

Children love collecting treasures they find in nature. Our nature table gives a home to these collections. I add interesting pieces I have collected too. We usually have mealworms, caterpillars or a fish on this table. It is important for children to have some type of living thing to look after and observe.

The items here are changed around quite regularly to sustain the children’s interest in the area. Items related to our current  Science Unit are setup at this table too. Magnifying glasses, clipboards, bug-catchers and other scientific tools are either stored on the table or on a small bookcase close by.

7. Art & Collage Area

Very often this area actually turns into 2 or 3 smaller areas throughout the room. I always have a box construction space. Sometimes that is just a very large box storing recycled treasures like boxes, tubes, unusual packaging – you know the traditional junk! The large storage box can be placed next to a small table where the children can work on their creations. Very close by on an open shelf, I store our art construction materials: glue, tape, scissors, crayons, various paper and card.

Painting easels could be added close to this space but I usually put 1 or 2 outside on the verandah. I have another small table inside dedicated to painting or drawing where different art mediums are offered for experimentation. These would include, pastels, watercolours, charcoal or drawing pencils. Sometimes I add tabletop easels to these tables to vary the experience.

The traditional collage trolley would live in this space too. Recently I have been using the collage trolley in another part of the classroom as a sensory play space. A large shallow underbed storage tray fits perfectly in the top of the trolley and I can fill that tray with a variety of sensory invitations (water, sand, rice).

A small selection of collage items can be found on the open bookshelf housing the construction materials at the box construction area. I only offer a limited selection of collage items (cotton balls, glitter, sequins, pipe-cleaners, straws etc) on this shelf. They are presented and organised in small clear boxes. The children are aware of all the collage items stored away in our storeroom.  They will ask for specific collage items if they need them and I can easily get what they need from the storeroom. I found it very time consuming and somewhat wasteful constantly topping up the trays on our old collage trolley. The collage items seemed to be just randomly glued onto a box or a piece of paper. Having them stored away seems to make their creations a little more purposeful.

painting table in play based classroom
box construction in play based classroom
art area in play based classroom
Maths Sorting Provocation from My Teaching Cupboard
math investigation area
8. Maths Area

I have a small table in the maths area but it’s not absolutely necessary. You can get away with just having a resource storage space for all the math tools: counters, dice, measuring tapes, manipulatives etc.  Math learning opportunities arise in all play areas of the classroom. Having a designated space to store tools that may be used throughout the room is all the children need to incorporate math learning into their investigations.

I like having a small math table or tray inviting children to investigate and practise the mathematical concepts we have been learning. The provocations I setup on the table vary according to the math concepts we are focusing on in class. Adding a sensory stimulus to the table will help with engagement and memory. I use this table during focused teaching lessons to demonstrate and teach our current math learning intentions too.

9. Tinkering

The tinkering area is a place where children can develop their fine motor and engineering skills. A small table with real tools and safety equipment for the children to use is always inviting. They can dismantle old broken household items or tinker with nuts & bolts, small engineering kits or small construction toys like meccano or lego. It is generally placed off to the side of the classroom and is only a small table for 1 or 2 children.

Play dough provocation with printable flowers
colour provocation at the light table
10. Sensory Play Area

Sensory experiences are embedded in all the areas of my play based classroom and then I also have at least 2 other areas specifically designed around sensory play. Sensory play acts as a magnet to children. Everything we learn about our world comes through our senses. This area is very important for cognitive and emotional development. Fine motor skills are also refined through sensory play. It can sometimes be a messy play space so it is best to set it up on the vinyl or outside on the verandah.

I have a light table permanently set up in the classroom. It is a very calming sensory play area. I change the provocations at the light table every 2 or 3 weeks. This allows me to design provocations linked to the curriculum. It also keeps the children interested and engaged in this space.

Another permanent sensory play area is the play dough table. It is set up at another small table in a quiet area of the room. I try to place this area on the vinyl as pieces of play dough always find their way to the floor.  We call it the play dough table but it doesn’t always have play dough on offer. Clay and plasticine are some of the malleable materials rotated through this area.

Sensory trays are very often included in the play investigations. They can take the form of a water trough on the verandah or the large under-bed storage tray in my repurposed collage trolley. A couple of small individual trays on a table can form part of our sensory play area too. There are many options for the provocations you can offer in a sensory tray.

You can read more about sensory play and how to use the sensory experience of play dough to teach phonics here on my blog.

Alphabet play dough mats in Queensland Beginners Font

How to Teach Phonics with Play dough

Playdough is always a favourite in my classroom. It’s ideal to use that interest for reinforcing educational skills and concepts. That’s the beauty of a play-based classroom. You can teach phonics and consolidate phonemic skills through the provocations and learning invitations you provide.

Playdough is a wonderful sensory experience. When you stimulate any of the 5 senses (seeing, touching, smelling, tasting or hearing) you are helping the brain to develop. When you ignite the senses of children, neural pathways are created in the brain. Current brain research suggests that sensory learning experiences will help children to LEARN more and RETAIN more too.

How to teach phonics with playdough?

Play dough by itself stimulates the sense of touch. Adding an essential oil to play dough will ignite the sense of smell.  Now 2 senses are being stimulated and those neural pathways in the brain are being created. If you want to teach or reinforce a phonics concept, add a phonics stimulus to the mix. The first phonics stimulus I always add is an alphabet play dough mat. This is how I teach alphabet letter symbols with playdough. Allow the children to feel the letters as they squeeze, roll and bend the playdough. They will be creating and accessing brain pathways through their sense of touch, smell and sight. When they form letters with the playdough you will be teaching phonic concepts they will remember.

koala play dough mat

The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world, they cast a light upon it which makes visible to him more things in greater detail than he could see in the dark, or uneducated state. (Maria Montessori: The Absorbent Mind)

I like to add props to my playdough table. This enhances the sensory learning experience even further. I use the props to teach and reinforces our focus letter sound. This is how to teach phonics with playdough.

For some information on phonological awareness or phonemic awareness, and how they relate to the teaching of phonics, please read this blog post.

Adding props to the play dough also develops more creative and critical thinking. The children will experiment and problem solve with the play dough and the props. Adding some well-planned and thoughtful props transforms a simple play dough experience into a learning provocation. You will also have the bonus of extending their oral language as they discuss the new props.

Choose props to match your phonics focus

As i already mentioned, the first prop I add to the play dough is one of my phonics playdough mats. I carefully designed each mat with a phonics theme in mind. For instance, when I use the /Hh/ mat with the beautiful image of herbs as the background, I also add either a vase of cut herbs or a small herb plant to the play dough provocation. The children’s fine motor skills can be further developed by adding scissors to cut some of the herbs. These cut herbs can be added to their playdough. Their sense of smell is awakened as they smell the cut and crushed herbs.

This learning provocation now encourages

  • open ended creative play
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • extensive vocabulary development
  • added sensory stimulation
  • further development of fine motor skills

We all know how important revision and practice is in learning. You can’t teach a child once and expect them to have learnt the new letter and its corresponding sound. A new phonics concept needs to have exposure numerous times. It needs to be included in many diverse sensory experiences. The greater the number of opportunities, the stronger the brain and memory can connect, learn and remember. The more varied the opportunities, the stronger the brain and memory can connect, learn and remember.

Herb play dough alphabet mat for sensory play
play dough provocation props

How I teach phonics in my classroom

At my school, we teach phonics using The Jolly Phonics Program. At the beginning of the Prep year we focus on 3 sounds over 2 weeks. I explicitly teach each letter, sound and action. Then the children practice and revise these concepts during our investigation time. The play dough table is just one place in my room where they can do this.

Using my play dough phonics mats and related phonemic props to teach phonics means I need to change the play dough table around quite regularly.  It’s very easy to create a new learning experience with little effort. To introduce a brand-new provocation, all I need to do is swap the mat and a few props. The new props bring new learning opportunities. Oh, and the minute you add something new to an area, I can guarantee they’ll be lining up to get there.

 By providing students with materials that they can physically manipulate, play with and explore, teachers help them learn more about the world and develop crucial skills that they will utilize later in life. (Caitrin Blake, Concordia University Nebraska)

The letters featured in my mats are in Queensland Beginners Font.  You might like to have these beautiful mats in your classroom to help you teach phonics at your play dough table. The pack contains 40 mats in A4 size. They each have an authentic photograph background reflecting the associated phoneme. Every 26 letters of the alphabet are represented at least once. There are two mats for each vowel, with both the long and short vowel sounds included.  For repeated use, be sure to laminate the mats or slide them into a sheet protector before using them.

Everything we know about the world and ourselves has come through our senses (Bogdashina, Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome)

I tend to make one batch of play dough each term. You will love my favourite play dough recipe. It lasts for ages and doesn’t need refrigeration. You can find it here.

Play dough Flowers. A sensory number provocation

Play dough Flowers— Number Provocations

I always link the provocations in my play-based investigation areas to our class learning intentions. I designed these play dough flowers for some number provocations I had in mind. They have turned out to be quite a handy resource.

I’ve frequently used them to teach number concepts in a variety of ways. I have been using them in quick transition activities, math warm-ups and also in whole class math games. They have been useful as a resource for my explicit teaching lessons too.  These flowers are ideal for use in quite a few different number provocations. I’ve outlined some number provocations and a few other ideas below.

These number flowers are a great addition to your playdoh table
Number provocation at the play dough table
Play dough provocation with printable flowers

I wanted a hands-on, sensory provocation to teach some number concepts. These flowers were originally designed to be used at the play dough table. The children loved them and before long number provocations started popping up everywhere! It seems I’m grabbing them more often for other areas in my classroom too.

They have come in handy when we study living things (plants) in Science. I always get them out for Spring. Our classroom is full of flowers in Spring.

Here are some of the ways I have used these Number Flowers in my classroom:

As number provocations in our Investigation Areas
  • In sensory tubs with sand, dirt, gravel or rice and a few empty plant pots, some gardening gloves and a couple of gardening trowels.
  • As a stimulus at the play dough table with either plant pots or cups so they can squash the play dough into the cup and plant their flowers.
  • With flower pots in the Dramatic Play space or just in a large vase for rearranging.
  • In a plant pot or vase as a display at the Science Nature table.
  • With counters and a number line at the Math table.
  • With some tins and cups at the Blocks area.
As a game, math warm-up or transition activity—give each child a flower
  • (numerals & words) and ask them to find their matching flower friend.
  • Or find a flower friend one more than you (or one less, before you or after you on the number line).
  • Ask them to put themselves in order (make a number line).
  • Put a large vase (or small bucket) at the front of the room and count forwards, backwards or skip count together. When a child’s flower is said, they put their flower in the bucket.
  • Sit in a circle and give clues to the secret flower eg: I’m the number before 7. The correct flower child stands up.
  • Make 2 sitting lines down each side of the carpet area. Give the children in one line numeral flowers and the other line number word flowers. The lines face each other and the teacher either says a number or a number clue. The children with the correct flower stand up and run across the middle carpet space to swap places. We call this game, Cross the River.

The .pdf file contains 42 number flowers in a variety of colours. They have been made using Queensland Beginner’s Font. Both numerals and words for numbers 0 to 20 are included. They have been designed to be printed on A4 paper or card. There are 6 flowers to each page. If you wanted them to be a smaller size, you could tile the printing to have 12 flowers to a page.