Kidaptive Blog

Practice number ordering with pipe cleaners


Ordinality refers to the principle that written and spoken numbers are part of a sequence that goes from smallest to largest. Although it can be learned fairly young, it takes time to integrate with other conceptual math concepts, like cardinality and numeral recognition. For example, children can learn the order of numbers before they know what those number words actually mean.

This week’s activity encourages your learner to incorporate multiple math concepts into the creation of a number sequence so they can improve their math understanding overall!


  • 10 note cards (3 x 5 in.)
  • Thick marker
  • 10 small objects
  • 10 pipe cleaners


  1. Write the numbers 0–9 on the notecards, with one number per card.
  2. Show your child one of the cards, and ask them to count out the appropriate number of objects and place it near the number.
  3. Have your child use a pipe cleaner to make the numeral they see on the card. Help them with this fine-motor task by holding one end of the pipe cleaner or helping them form the pipe cleaner over the written number.
  4. Once your learner has formed the numerals 0–9, ask them to put the pipe cleaner numbers in order and display them. (Your child can also use them in future play!)

As your learner does the activity, pay attention to which numbers they place in the correct order. Children learn about lower numbers first, so be ready to help your child as the numbers get bigger!

We would love to hear your thoughts on this activity, as well as suggestions on future topics to cover! Please leave a comment.