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Language and Communication Understand and use ordinals (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc)  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The pupil will understand and use ordinals, both in relation to the position of objects/people and a series of actions.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:Maths Number and Algebra
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:L2
TAP skill:Language
TAP level:TAP72
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info

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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Write it

Writing materials

  1. Explain that you are going to talk about what words such as “first”, “second” and “third” mean.
  2. Ask the child to write the numerals 1-10 in order one below each other.
  3. Explain that when something is in “number one place”, we say it is ‘first’ etc.
  4. Show the child how to write the words “first”, “second”, “third” and so on.
  5. Show them how to change the numeral by adding ‘st’, ‘nd’, ‘rd’ or ‘th’ (1 → 1st, 2 → 2nd, 3 → 3rd, 4 → 4th etc.). Point out that you add the last 2 letters of the written word to the numeral.
  6. Point out that you usually add ‘th’, but that first, second and third are different.

This works best 1:1.

Use this activity only with a child who can read and write. With children with less good literacy skills, you will need to talk about what you are going to focus on, but miss out the written support.

With children who can cope with larger numbers, you might want to go beyond 10, be careful to explain how numbers such as 21st, 22nd and 23rd are formed.

Line up


This works best with a class or group.

You may want to focus more on the front of the line.


Equipment as required by the PE activity

This works best with a class.

Small World

Small world equipment, including several ‘people’.

This works best 1:1.

This activity is more suited to younger children.


Equipment as required by the actions.

Visual prompt cards if required.

This works best 1:1 or with a small group.

Make sure you stress words such as “first”, “second” etc.

Bear in mind the child’s auditory memory – the more instructions you give, the harder it will be to remember them.


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