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Makaton Signs - Playing Numbers Games

By Anne Vize

There are lots of fun ways of teaching numbers and counting with Makaton. This article shows you some fun numbers games to use in special education teaching to build Makaton vocabulary skills.

Games and Activities For Children Using Makaton Signs

Playing with numbers and playing counting games can help children in two ways - it teaches them some more Makaton vocabulary and it Makaton practice online helps reinforce mathematical knowledge and concepts. This article shows you some great games and activities for children using Makaton basic words and symbols to support the teaching and learning tasks.

While Makaton originated in Great Britain, there are educators in the United States now introducing it to students. This resource from suggests a fun sorting activity for your class. You will find additional activities below.

What's Your Number?

For this game, children are each given a number card. The teacher has their own number card. They look at their own card and then hold the card face down on their knee. They do not show their card to anyone else. The teacher takes turns to communicate with each child by signing 'Hi...My number is ...What's your number?'

The child then uses Makaton basic signs to tell the teacher what their number is. The teacher then moves on to the next child. In some classes, the children may be asked to remember each of the numbers in turn so they add the teacher's number, their own and then the next number in the group as well. This activity focuses on the skills of turn taking, Makaton signs for 'number, what, who, next' and visual recall skills.

Where Is the Number?

For this game, the teacher hides number cards for numbers 1 to 10 around the room. The children are given a signal and then the Makaton signs for 'where is the number...' The teacher then tells them a number and the children have to race to try and find the correct number. For example, the teacher may show the number 4 and the children need to search the room to find the 4. The teacher may also sign 'where are all the numbers?' The children then have to try and find all the numbers and put them in order on the floor from one to ten.

Songs for Numbers

There are lots of great songs for teaching Makaton signs and numbers together. Here are few to try:

One two, tie my shoe - great for teaching some basic Makaton signs for common objects as well as using lots of number repetition

One, two, three, four five, once I caught a fish alive - this song can be acted out with the addition of a few simple fish props made of cardboard

The ants go marching one by one - this song is fun for teaching as you do a walking or running task such as counting laps around a running track, and for teaching Makaton signs such as 'go, stop, fast, slow'