This is a very simple, yet fun activity to do, and can be adapted to suit children at different stages of development.  I played this with both my little ones and we all had such a blast; they were much better at it than me, I couldn’t get any of the balls into any of the cups!

You will need:

  • 11 cups – small plastic ones work really well
  • 11 bits of paper torn into small squares (they need to fit into the cups), with the numbers 0-10 written on them
  • Ping pong balls

Put one piece of paper into each cup, and set them up into a pyramid.  We tried it with the cups spaced out and all next to each other.  It was much easier to get the balls into the cups when they were all next to each other.

Basically, the aim is to get the balls into the cups, but the way you use this game can change depending on the age of the child:

  • For younger children – when they get the ball into the cup, get them to identify the number.
  • For children aged 5+ – when they get a ball into a cup take the number out and put it to the side.  Then get them to keep throwing until they get another number.  Then put the numbers together and get them to identify the new number e.g. When I played this with EC the first number he got was 9, then he got a 1, so he then had to identify the number 91.
  • For children 6+ – add more cups with +, – , X and  ⁄.  Then get them to do simple sums with the numbers and symbols they get.

They honestly won’t realise that they are learning, as they are so busy trying to get the balls into the cups.  I eventually had to prise YC of the game because she wanted to carry on playing it instead of coming down for supper.

This activity may help development of:

  • Hand to eye coordination
  • Confidence with numbers and sums
Having the cups spaced out was much harder than having them close together

Having the cups spaced out was much harder than having them close together