The Muddy Puddle Teacher

How to use a 100 square grid outside

Printable 100 square grid – why you need to ditch it!

Using a 100 square grid outdoors can be far more rewarding than basic 100 square printables.  Sometimes children need to see their numbers in different contexts, especially those children who are kinesthetic learners.  Printed number grids are sure easy for the tidy teacher but not so for the children that need to use their bodies to reinforce number recognition and place value.  

So how do you make an outdoor 100 square grid using little to no money while being a sustainable educator? 

There are several ways to create cheap and easy outdoor number grids. Ensure that the children are involved in making them with you. It is an excellent way for children to start to think about the number system and patterns. Something you typically do not do with a pre-made grid.  It could be something you do over time and as a whole class. Delegate one group to do the 10s, the 2’s, and the 6’s; for instance, gather the numbers altogether at the end and place them in the correct positions. This alone is an incredibly helpful task, especially for auditory learners who love to discuss and reinforce their learning through discussion and group chat. Plus your visual learners will be able to take the moments of practically and visually piecing the numbers together as a lasting memory to treasure and remember. 

Here are some different ways of making the 100 square grid: 


Gather some rocks, our favourite place to go for rocks is Wickes, but most garden centres will provide you with large bags of river pebbles cheaply. These are the smooth types of stones that are easy to write on. Use a permanent marker to write the numbers on; they will not rub off in the rain but will rub off when you decide to wash them and reuse them. 


Leaves can also be used and look great on an autumnal day; however, try and avoid them on windy days! They will not last as long as your rocks will. 


You could create a 100 square grid out of chalk in your yard. Ensure you use a colour that shows up and ask a group at a time to go outside and add to it. 

Why not create all three 100 square grid methods and have three groups rotating around each 100 square grid playing different games? 

Once you have created your 100 square grid, here are some games you can do with it: 

  • What is the missing number?  One child removes a number from the 100 square grid, or several numbers and the other children have a minute to say what number is missing. Children keep a tally score of winning points by using chalk on a floor or wall. 
  • The great dash.  One of the children shouts out a number and the other child has to find it in under 30 seconds. 
  • Fill the holes.  One child takes off the number grid of ten rocks; the other child then has one minute to place all of the rocks back in their places. 
  • Craft Calculations.  Use the 100 square grid for selecting numbers. Ask the children to choose two numbers and then take these away and solve the subtraction or addition calculation. Offer chalk to do their workings out.  
  • Muddy Multiplications. Play multiplication games. The teacher or a selected child shouts out a multiplication, e.g. 6 x 7 = and the child then races to the 100 square grid to find the answer. 

Children keep a tally score of winning points using chalk on a floor or wall. 

Can you now see by using a very alternative way of piecing together a self-made 100 square grid, the possibilities this brings to all learner types of how they both put their learning into context but also play around with place value and numbers? Also just take one moment about the cross-curricular links being made here to geography, Science and the PSED by working in teams, together and the links to Literacy through discussion work.   So who is going for that printable now or who is on their way to becoming a Muddy Puddle Teacher? 

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