Number Lines Game ideas!


Number Lines Game Ideas – click here for why your own personal number line (in your head!) is so important or keep reading for some active, fun games.

Little Maths Club is the newest area of my site which seems strange when I’ve worked as a Maths teacher for twenty years.  The blog started as a place to share activities that made us happy at home, and now that includes supporting them with their sums from time to time.  There are more ideas here and you can find my fledgling @littlemathsclub on Instagram.

Click here for why your own personal number line (in your head!) is so important. Read on for some games that you could play on your number line – I’ve started with my personal favourite 😍. Photos to follow – I am on a “Just do it” drive so have uploaded blog without….Follow me on Instagram and I’ll post there when it’s updated or please check back soon!

1) Codebreaker

This is my favourite number lines game so I’ve put it as numero uno, but you might want to warm up with number 5 (Jumping Sums!) and a couple of the other games first.

Write the alphabet out on ‘post it’s’ and stick a letter next to each number.

Then write them a code sheet with age appropriate calculations. (Your answers to each calculation matching your desired letter.)

Use numbers greater than 26 for punctuation and a space bar!

Links to school

Your children are bound to come across a code worksheet at school at some point, so this is great practice and also provides lots of mysterious fun! What child doesn’t get excited by a bit of detective work!

They might even make you one in return 🤞

2) Hopskotch

The all time classic number lines game!  I am not sure who to credit with hopskotch (must google and link!) but a lovely lady who I’ve met on here suggested it and I reckon it’s great shout!

3) Pontoon

Again not sure who to credit with this but a great game for practicing arithmetic.

Sit a big toy at a target number (for pontoon it’s 21 but pick any that works for your little one, perhaps a smaller target to begin with). Give them 2 or 3 toys depending on the size of the target and let them try and land the toy on numbers to add to that target. 🧸

You could make the target 10 and give them two little toys and they could investigate bonds to 10 without them even realising.

If you’re feeling brave you could bring in a go bust and you’re out rule. I won’t be doing that as it would kick off 😂😂  We have to practise losing – a lot!

4) Maths Work Out!  A jumping around number lines game.

Just good old fun Maths and exercise mixed together. Kids will love jumping along the line with equal jumps, shouting out the numbers as they go – works for my two anyway!

Try going backwards and perhaps talk about numbers that appear in the 2s and 3s times tables. After some time cover the numbers with post it’s and see if they still know them.

Extra learning point –

Try and point out that there are only two jumps from 2 to 4 even though there are three numbers included (2,3,4) – this is something that even A Level students mix up when learning about sequences so it is a great chance to start sowing that seed!

5) Jumping Sums

Get them to jump some calculations. Strictly speaking sums means add (think I’d been teaching a while before I found that out!).

Anyway, write out some sums and and let them loose! Throw in some takeaways if you think they’re up to it! And don’t worry if they call them all sums – I’ve never known it matter! If they’re into words they might enjoy that fact though!

Extra learning point –

This would be great to fit in if you can….

Get them to work out a sum by hand – e.g. 5+13=18 then jump it! Ask them about 13+5=18. If they don’t spot it’s the same immediately let them go through the motions and do the jumps. Then maybe say something like “ooooooh 18 is a familiar answer” and help them appreciate that it’s the same sum and talk about why. The aim of the chat is to draw out that its easier to add on from the big number and that it doesn’t matter which way round you add numbers (the posh word being commutative, but they don’t need to know that until they’re rocking A Level!)

6) Big Tens!

Who doesn’t like doing “Big Tens”?! It’s even better than high five surely? Being able to add across 10 seriously improves your mental maths! So get them to jump sums that “go across” a zero number

e.g. 12+9, 13+8, 16+5

And when they’re on the zero number get them to stop and shout “BIG TENS” while someone does “big tens” them.

They will then naturally start to use the 10 number as a part-way target.

Obviously our system is all about the number 10. I guess humans having ten fingers makes it an obviously choice, however it still takes a while to get the hang of! Try learning to count in another base and you’ll appreciate even more the headache our little ones have!

More to come!  More number lines game ideas on their way.  And we would love to hear from you with yours!

I am thinking why stop here, there must be so much fun to be had with a dice, some cuddly toys, post it’s and lots of jumping!

I plan to leave the number line for a while, try and clean off the masking tape and bring it again soon!! Or maybe chalk outside if this really is the start of summer…..

Looking for a self esteem boosting activity for your little one? Or want to get them chatting? Why not head to “Little Stars” or “Today’s Post“??


  1. I love the idea of the jumping and counting!! Will try that with my boys. I just love your blog because the tips are lovely!! Xx

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