'Counting stick' will really help improve your number skills. The aim of this session is to use a stick to illustrate where certain numbers should be placed. This allows children to understand how to count up/down at any point.


  • Scissors
  • Paper/Pen
  • String


First find a stick, then tell the group that one end of the stick starts at zero and the other ends at ten (pick different ranges depending on their ability). Point at different parts of the stick and ask individuals to tell you what number you are pointing to.

Create digit cards by cutting out either a square or circle. Write all the values on the digit cards corresponding to the range that your looking at e.g. 0-10. Add string to each digit card. Mix up the cards, then hand one to a member and get them to try and place (tie) that number onto the stick in the correct place. Once you have completed the task, get them to count up and down the stick.

On a new stick, place a digit card in the middle of the stick. Try and workout what the start and end values are. Also ask them to imagine the stick continuing and if 10 is in the middle of the stick, can you show me where 50 would be?

Variations of this activity include asking an individual to lead on any of the tasks, or looking at fractions, decimals, and negative numbers.

Safety Tips

Take care when using scissors and wash your hands after the activity.