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The Three Billy Goats Gruff – maths activities

'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' is a story about three hungry goats that want to cross a river to reach the fresh green grass on the opposite bank. An ugly troll lives under the bridge. Each of the goats tries to cross the bridge. The smallest goes first and although he encounters the troll, he escapes because he convinces the troll that his older brother will be fatter and tastier to eat. The second goat plays the same trick on the troll and also reaches the luscious green meadows. The third goat is strong and thrusts the troll over the bridge into the river. The three goats are happily reunited on the further green bank. 

Here are some activities that link with the story to help your child with their maths. 

1. Numbers of the week - 3 and 4

This week we are thinking about numbers 3 and 4. How many Billy Goats Gruff were there? What do the numbers three and four look like? Can you find any 3's or 4's in your house and are you 3 or 4 years old ? 


2.  Shapes -Circles

Can you draw a circle? What does it look like? Are there any circles in your house? What makes a circle different from other shapes? See if you can draw a picture or pattern using only circles.Try a fat, fierce, ugly troll. See what other patterns can you make?


3. Stepping Stones

  • Make a set of ten stepping stones using paper and number them from 1 to 10 writing one numeral clearly on each one.

  • Place the stepping stones on the ground in sequence from one to ten, leaving gaps between. These can be varied in length. 

  • The idea of the game is for the children to pretend to be a goat and move across the stepping stones in a variety of ways they can jump, hop or just tread lightly and to call out the numbers on the stones as they land on them. 

  • Children learn a great deal from observation and imitation. This process will give them confidence to develop their own ideas for individual movements inspired by the three goats in the story. The smallest goat steps gingerly and lightly over the bridge, the middle-sized goat has a heavier tread, and the big goat tramps noisily across it.

  • With younger children, you can begin by using the stepping stones numbered one to five and as they become more familiar with these numbers, add the higher ones.

  • Remind your child to call out the numbers on the stepping stones to tell you when they are across the river.

  • To extend this activity you can add extra numbers or get your children to move one step forwards or backwards and tell you which number they are on.

Use your counting skills to match the goats with the right number.