Ladybird number bond hand puppets

ladybird number bond hand puppets

Ladybird number bond hand puppets can be used for many fun mathematical activities in early years settings.




To make them you will need……..


– 10 paper plates,


– 1 pot of bright red poster paint,


– 1 pot of black poster paint,


– black felt


– some sticky dots for spots (optional)


– stapler and staples,


– a pot of quick drying varnish (optional)


– a domestic 2” decorating brush 


– a thin art brush.





– Cover a large table with newspaper.


– Count out 10 plates


– Turn over the plates (you will be painting the underside).


– Take the paint brush and paint once with a thin coat of poster paint.  (If you use too much paint, the plates will go soggy).


– When dry, apply a second thin coat of red paint.


– Leave for about an hour or so until the plates are dry.


– Taking a thin art brush, paint a thin black line down the centre of the plate.  At one end paint a back beetle head.


– Paint on the desired number of spots on the beetle wings or use large black sticky dots.


– For number bonds to ten you will need the numbers 1 – 9 and an extra 5 spot ladybird.


– Allow to dry for at least an hour.


– Using the large domestic paint brush, apply a thin layer of varnish to the Ladybirds – remember to do this in a well ventilated room.


– While the Ladybirds are drying make the feelers and legs from felt.


– When the Ladybirds are dry, position the felt legs and feelers between the painted plate and an unpainted paint.  Remember to leave the bottom of the Ladybird puppet free of staples so that you can use the Ladybird as a hand puppet.









– Encourage the children to paint the ladybird puppet plate with red paint, decorate it with a black head and spots.


– Make the legs from strips of black sugar paper.


– Once all the pieces have been made and the paint is dry, an adult staples a ladybird plate and a plain plate together to make the puppet.




A variation: 

– You may wish to hang your puppets up as a number mobile.


– Using only one plate painted by the children, encourage the children to stick their ladybird onto a giant sugar paper green leaf.  Aphids or bugs can be added to match the number of spots on the ladybird.


– double the number of bugs to ladybird spots


– half the number of bugs to ladybird spots


– one more bug than ladybird spots


– one less bug than ladybird spots



Liz Gibbs is a freelance national and international teaching and learning consultant for mathematics and ICT.  This autumn Liz is currently running courses in Suffolk, London and Hong Kong.  You can find out more by visiting her website.

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