This Smarties Tally Chart classroom idea is a fun way for EYFS and KS1 children to learn their numbers and place value.


  • 1 box or tube of Smarties per child (Jelly beans or other suitable alternative)
  • Tally charts (one row per colour)
  • Pencils
  • Colour pencils


Learning Outcomes:

Mathematics – Numbers (EYFS)

  • Count reliably up to 20
  • Place amounts in order
  • Understand more / less

Mathematics – Number and Place Value (Year 1)

  • Count, read and write numbers to 100
  • Use pictorial representation of numbers
  • Use comparative language more than / less than



  1. Give each child a box / tube of smarties (or alternative) and a tally chart outline
  2. Ask the children to open their boxes and lay the smarties out in front of them. Remind them not to eat any (yet!)
  3. Encourage children to sort the smarties into their different colour groups
  4. Can they count how many red / green / orange etc. smarties they have?
  5. Ask the children to line one colour up along the first row of the tally chart. How can we remember how many there were once the smarties are taken away? If not suggested, then put forward the idea of drawing circles to represent each of the smarties of that colour. (For KS1 suggest the idea of the tally, where one line represents each of the smarties and the diagonal line through for the count of 5)
  6. Repeat with each colour and colour circles in the corresponding colours. (KS1 repeat tally for each colour, encourage children to write the numeral for each colour’s total)
  7. Discuss which colour has the most smarties and which has the least. Can children put the colours in order of which has the most through to the least?
  8. (Finish by either eating the Smarties, or putting them back in the boxes / tubes so they can go home)

Extension Ideas:

  • How many more of one colour is there compared to another – encourage children to look at ways this simple problem can be solved.
  • What happens if you eat / remove X number of red smarties – how does this change the tally
  • Compare the colour results of different children


Top Tips:

  • Check for allergies before using any specific sweets. Different colour counters or beads can be used as an alternative.
  • Work with small groups of ideally no more than 6 children to enable them to get the most from the activity.
  • Pre-design tally sheets for younger children adding the colours they may find to the initial column for additional support.