7 Great Ideas for Taking Your Maths Lessons Outdoors - ESP - School Playground Equipment

7 Great Ideas for Taking Your Maths Lessons Outdoors

Whilst many maths teachers would love to get their pupils out of the stuffy classroom and away from the exercise books, a lack of suitable resources can make outdoor maths seem impractical. Thankfully, that no longer needs to be the case. In this post, we’ll look at a range of outdoor maths resources to help you create exciting maths lessons with a touch of active learning thrown in for good measure.    

1. Counting the world around you

Ideal for individual and small group work, our abacus panel is a great outdoor maths resource for helping children add and subtract things they can spot in and around the school playground.

It’s three counting rows enable students to work with hundreds, tens and units, so it’s an effective tool to help them carry out some quite complex calculations. The abacus panel even has ‘white board’ areas where working out can be done.

For more challenging calculations involving multiplication and division, our sum spinner provides a fun way for pupils to generate random maths questions.

The panels for both the abacus and sum spinner can be taken down when not needed and kept in safe storage.







2. Telling the time

 Our clock boards are an ideal resource for taking time skills lessons out of doors. Each board comes with moveable hands and a blank face which the children can fill in themselves. There’s also a handy box to convert analogue time into digital time in either a 12 hour or 24-hour format.

Again, this is ideal for paired or small group tasks and the board can be easily taken down and stored in a safe place when not being used.

3. 2D and 3D shapes

Learning about shapes is an essential part of the maths curriculum but seldom do children get to explore and work with them on a larger scale.

Our tangram table and Soma cubes provide an engaging way to do this during an outdoor maths lesson by providing 2D and 3D dissection puzzles.

The tangram table is a puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes which need to be put together to form other shapes. It’s a stimulating way to help children understand the relationships between 2D shapes.

For more complex 2D shape work, we also have a range of tessellation boards which can be used in an outdoor space.

The Soma cube, which has its origins in quantum mechanics, takes shape learning to another dimension. It enables children to explore 3D shapes by requiring them to figure out how to assemble its seven pieces into a 3×3×3 cube. It can also be used to make a variety of other 3D shapes.

4. Finding your bearings

One area of maths that can be really good fun to learn is coordinates. For those learning the basic ‘along the corridor, up the stairs’ rule, our outdoor battleboards enable games like battleships to be played on a large scale and enjoyed by children working in pairs or small groups.

For more advanced work, our multi-function coordinates/tessellation board lets students engage with a wide range of maths skills: plotting co-ordinates (in both positive and negative value spaces), mirror sketching across axes, vectors, tessellating shapes, plotting graphs, drawing shapes and creating angles.


5. Get them climbing the walls

‘Kids climbing the walls’ is a phrase usually associated with a disruptive classroom, however, with our outdoor Maths Traversing Wall, it’s a sign that active learning is in full swing.

The aim, of course, is for pupils to traverse from one side to the other. However, it is possible to label and colour code the specially designed foot and hand holds so that mathematical problems need to be solved to complete the challenge.

For example, children can be asked to use only odd or even numbers as they cross. If working in teams, they may be given a series of questions, the answers to which correspond with the foot and hand holds they need to use. Alternatively, if you are looking to develop mental maths calculation speed, why not use the board to teach times tables and give a prize to the pupil who completes the wall in the quickest time?

The Maths Traversing Wall is a fun and exciting way to for pupils to tackle an almost unlimited number of mathematical problems. It also gives children something to play on during break times.

6. Discovering symmetry

If you are teaching symmetry, our symmetry board has everything you need to explore the shapes of objects pupils find in your outdoor spaces.

With its built-in mirror and angled lines, it’s ideal for experimenting with symmetrical lines, examining angles of reflection and looking at how mirrors create the illusion of symmetry.

7. Learning through play

One of the joys of teaching maths outdoors is that you have much more space to use. This allows you to use larger, more tactile resources that are much more enjoyable for pupils to learn with.

For example, there are some great games you can use outdoors to help develop a range of core maths skills: these include, giant outdoor dominos, colour coded giant matchsticks and our intriguing colour puzzle table.

For younger children, there are also some tabletop and magnetic board games that help with counting, such as Connect 4, Ludo and Snakes and Ladders.


Maths often gets a bad reputation for being a subject in which pupils do little more than answer exercises from a book. Thankfully, with these great outdoor resources, you can find more interesting and engaging ways to develop those skills. For more details, check out our full range of outdoor maths resources.

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