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Pathfinders

This activity explores children’s physical development as well as their maths skills, all in a fun outdoor game. It is best suited for older children in smaller groups.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • An outdoor space with a paved/concrete floor
  • Coloured chalk
  • Post-it notes or blank flashcards
  • Coloured felt-tips
Photo by Viktoria Goda from Pexels

Preparing the activity:

  1. Using the coloured felt-tips, draw a series of coloured shapes on the flashcards/post-its. Make sure there are a variety of colours for each shape.
  2. Shuffle the shapes so they’re in a random order.
  3. In your outside area, designate a “start” and “finish” area, then start drawing lines! The lines can be as wiggly as you want, but must be in a range of different colours and start and end at the correct sides (see diagram for an example). The line colours must correspond to the colours used on the post-its/flashcards and should have a corresponding shape at the start and end. Depending on your assessment of your early years’ abilities, the “maze” can be as simple or complicated as you like.

Doing the activity:

In turn, encourage the children to take one of the cards with a colour and shape on and challenge them to find and follow the corresponding path through the maze. As much as possible the children should be enabled to work out the colour and shape, and the path’s route, on their own.

The game can be made extra challenging by adding instructions to the cards, such as “hop”, “skip”, “jump” or even “walk backwards”. Why not count how many steps or hops it takes to reach the end of the path? The children could also be challenged to a race between routes (being careful not to cause a collision when the paths cross!).

To extend the game even further and really work those maths skills (if you have enough space), numbers could be added to the paths. So you may ask a child to find “blue square number 1” or “red triangle number 3”!

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention: “Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).”

Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Moves freely and with pleasure and confidence in a range of ways, such as slithering, shuffling, rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping, skipping, sliding and hopping.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Uses some number names accurately in play.; Realises not only objects, but anything can be counted, including steps, claps or jumps.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Shows an interest in shape and space by playing with shapes or making arrangements with objects.; Shows awareness of similarities of shapes in the environment.”

40-60+ months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention: “Two-channelled attention – can listen and do for short span.”

Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Experiments with different ways of moving.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Counts actions or objects which cannot be moved.; Counts objects to 10, and beginning to count beyond 10.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Beginning to use mathematical names for ‘solid’ 3D shapes and ‘flat’ 2D shapes, and mathematical terms to describe shapes.; Selects a particular named shape.”