13 Fantastic Pages of Early Years Maths Activities – Estimating EYFS

Estimation jar for estimating objects
Estimating EYFS

Good Guessing

Estimation helps children to imagine quantities and link them to numbers. However, this is not an easy thing for young children to do and they will need lots of practise in order to improve. The word ‘estimate’ will be new to some children and should be described as a ‘good guess’. You are not necessarily looking for the correct number but a number that is only one or two away from the correct number. This again, will need some reinforcement as children are so used to providing answers that are ‘correct’ and may find it difficult to understand the concept of providing answers that are almost correct.

Use my beautiful picture book to introduce the concept and children won’t even realise that they are learning. It can be read over and over again to reinforce the concepts in a fun and enjoyable way.

Guess How Many

As with all mathematical concepts, children should have the opportunity to explore estimation in a very practical way. Starting with small quantities initially, place items into a clear jar and briefly show the children. There will be a great temptation for the children to count the quantities at first in an attempt to be accurate but they need to understand that guessing or estimating doesn’t involve counting initially.

Ensure that they don’t see the jar long enough to count the items. Once they have made their estimates, revisit the jar to get an accurate count. Compare the estimate with the count – who has had a good guess? This is a good time to revisit the language of more and less when comparing the estimates and counts.

You will get a good idea of the children’s understanding of number from their estimates. If they are a very long way off the actual number with small quantities you might need to do more number activities which will consolidate children’s understanding of number and quantity before continuing with estimation. If the estimates they make with lower quantities are quite accurate you can gradually increase the quantities to challenge them a little further. Once the children are confident in a practical manner they can move on to the worksheets in our Estimation pack.

Estimating EYFS Pack

The pack consists of 13 pages which include:

  • Signs for an estimation station
  • Estimation station recording sheet
  • Estimation homework
  • Estimation recording sheet
  • Estimation vocabulary for display
  • Estimation worksheet with cover up panels
Estimation EYFS – Make an estimation station

Estimation Station

Find a display table in an area of your room to create an estimation station. Put 4 numbered jars on the table with different quantities inside. Place the recording sheets with the jars and encourage children to make their estimates next to the corresponding number on the jar.

Estimation Station

By now they should be good at guessing and not counting! Change the number of objects regularly to provide additional practise throughout the week. As the quantities get larger it might be a good idea to put an example of what 5 looks like or what 10 looks like depending upon the size of the numbers used. This could be done using different equipment e.g. numicon, dot cards, arrangements of objects. This will give the children a point of reference to guage their estimates from. Use the vocabulary to decorate the station and remind the children of the new words that they have encountered.

Reinforce the concept at home with the homework sheet provided.

Estimating EYFS – Homework

The button worksheets have panels that can be cut out and used to ensure that the children only look at the buttons very briefly. There is a box to record their estimates and a box to write their answer after counting to check.

Estimating EYFS – Button estimation activitiy

Click here to get your estimating EYFS pack

If you have enjoyed this blog, then you might want to check out my blog on EYFS pattern activities.