Seats on the Bus
Years K - 1

An activity for a junior primary child guided by an adult in a play context.


  • Before playing with your child, click the image to view the stimulus video.
  • It has two parts:
    1. A teacher with 5/6/7 year olds pretending that an array of chairs are seats on the bus.
    2. Transferring that 'game' to smaller scale using classroom equipment.
  • The hope is that you will look for an opportunity to create and explore a similar 'rows on the bus' game with your child using action figures, dolls, teddies, Lego people or...
  • The teacher in the video models all the language and questions you need to get started.
  • You will need paper squares, or drink coasters or similar to use as seats for the pretend people.
If the game is a success (and why wouldn't it be), use it 2 or 3 times a week over 2 or 3 weeks changing the challenge by changing the arrangement of seats or the number of pretend people.
  1. Children even younger than these have been known to independently arrange objects in neat rows, so if it is more natural, for example, for your child to park toy cars in neat rows, feel free to adapt the learning concept.
  2. As you will hear in the video a critical concept for this work is that 'rows go across your tummy', just like the do for the actor on a stage seeing the audience sitting in rows, or the bus driver who stands up and looks back down the bus.
  3. The second part of the video doesn't have to be used on the same day as the first.
  4. Plastic screw caps from soft drink and spring water bottles, bottle caps, pebbles, pasta or ... will substitute for the school resource called Poly Plug shown in the video. If you can think of something else that works let us know.

Getting Started

  • I found an interesting video on the computer last night. I though you might like it too. Let's have a look.
  • View the first part of the video together.
  • How about we get out your ... and put them on a bus too. What could we use for seats?

Have fun exploring Seats on the Bus.
  • Take photos and video to share.
  • Could you use your social media apps to play together with a child in another family?

Just Before You Finish

As far as possible, as a play session draws near to closing, shift the emphasis to recording something about the session in the maths journal, or on the computer.
  • Let's draw a picture to show mummy what we were doing while she was at work. I'll help you write some words too.
  • You pack up and I'll put the photos on the computer. Then we can send them to Poppy in an email. You can tell me what to type.


Answers & Discussion

There's no need for answers or discussion here. It will all depend on how it plays out in your home. But we would love to retell your stories with photos and comment in our gallery.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre