This project is all about counting.  Read the guided observations below so that you can be clear about what can be expected from children of different age groups in terms of their understanding of ‘counting’.

Intent: Practise counting and embed the children’s understanding of numbers up to five.

Older children can also practise their fine motor cutting skills by helping you cut out the segments.


Draw 5 circles out of different coloured sugar paper. Cut them out for younger children and help older children cut them out themselves. Cut coloured spots out of more coloured paper. Overlap the circles so that they make a caterpillar and help the children draw on eyes, legs and antennae.

Draw 1 dot in the first circle segment, 2 in the second, up to 5 dots. Ask the child to count out the dots and then count out the matching number of spots, and put one spot on each dot. Lastly write the numbers 1-5 on the appropriate segment.

Tip: For younger children you may want to give them less spots to count, for example a three segment caterpillar instead of a five segment caterpillar.

EYFS Observations

EYFS Learning and Development Areas: Mathematics: Number

What to look for on this project (Impact):

Children who are starting to show an awareness of what counting is may make counting like sounds when you point to the spots in turn. They should have an awareness of number names from counting songs and rhymes.

Children just beginning to count will maybe use number words at random, without saying them in the correct order.

Children who are showing a greater awareness of counting may be able to recite some numbers in order. Don’t worry about them being able to count to high numbers, concentrate on their awareness of what the numbers actually mean.

Children who are starting to count show an awareness that each spot relates to a different number and may be able to count a small number of spots if you help them point to them in turn.

Children with a greater awareness of numbers may be able to talk about which segment has ‘more’ dots. Introduce vocabulary like ‘lots’ and ‘how many.’

Older children of very roughly pre-school age may be able to count the dots you have drawn on their caterpillar segments, understand what that number represents as well as what it is called and count out the same number of spots to stick to their caterpillar. Build upon their knowledge, for example getting a really good understanding of two, before moving onto three and so on.

Older children may be able to match the numeral (the number sign that represents a number name, e.g 1,2,3, etc) to the number.

You can download a free PDF sheet of this activity here.

Last updated 12/06/2023

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