Age range: 5/6 years - Preparation time: 20 minutes - Working time with children: approximately 2 x 20 minutes


The foundations for mathematical thinking are laid in the first years of life. Handcrafted mice aid number learning in a playful way and in the first calculations between numbers 1 and 10. Moving the mobile, strung wooden pearls backward and forward encourages counting and supports knowledge of numbers up to 10.

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Pedagogic aims

  • Build knowledge with numbers: Count numbers from 1 to 10, the sequence of the numbers and know their value.
  • Learn basic mathematical operations: Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Lean to understand terms such as "more/less" or "plus/minus"
  • Develop fine motor skills in making the abacus mice.
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Material and resources

  • Handicraft corrugated cardboard, 50 x 70 cm for each mouse:
  • Bending plush, thin, 2 x 4 cm (ears), 1 x 30 cm (tail)
  • Wooden bead in black, 8 mm diameter
  • 10 wooden beads in two different colours 12 or 15 mm diameter, e.g. 5 in red, 5 in yellow
  • 2 half-eyes in black, 3 to 6 mm diameter, alternatively: hole-punch, coloured paper leftovers in black, UHU stic or felt-tip pen in black 
  • Ruler and wood slat
  • Pencil, scissors
  • UHU All Purpose Adhesive Extra without solvent
  • Small spray cans cover, clothes peg, rubber ring, toothpick


  • without solvent 
  • quick-drying 
  • crystal-clear
  • washable at 40°C 

UHU - the all-purpose glue without solvent - is the modern high-performance all-purpose glue with high instant adhesion. It sticks just as well as the classic glue. Ideal for school, nursery and the home. With its formula, it sticks cardboard, paper, felt, leather, cork, cloth and wood to each other and to metal, porcelain, glass, styrofoam and many plastics. Not suitable for photos, PE, PP. Clean adhesive services well (dry, free of dusts and grease). Thinly apply adhesive on one side, press - finished.

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  • Cut a long triangle over the length (70 cm) of a corrugated board: On the short side of the board, measure 7 cm, draw a diagonal line up to the corner and cut.
  • For the next triangle, mark a horizontal line, cut out the form etc.
  • For the ears, cut bending plush into 4 cm long pieces.
  • Make an abacus mouse to present to people.

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Step-by-step plan

Counting mice

Step 1

Introduce a ready-to-use abacus mouse as a small hand puppet: the mouse is proud of its special tail, which it can use to count. It sets small tasks and makes the children count or calculate.

Counting mice

Step 2

Each child now makes their own abacus mouse and chooses bending plush for the body and ears as well as wooden beads for the tail.

Counting mice

Step 3

Put a small amount of UHU All Purpose Adhesive Extra without solvent into a small spray can cover. Put an end of the 30 cm long bending plush into the glue and attach a black wooden bead; this forms the nose of the mouse.

Counting mice

Step 4

For the body, turn the smooth side of the corrugated cardboard so it is facing upwards. Apply UHU All Purpose Adhesive Extra without solvent to the short side of the triangle and wrap tightly around the bending plush. Fix with a peg until the corrugated cardboard sticks to the bending plush. Then roll up the whole triangle and stick the narrow end. Fix the roll with rubber rings until the adhesive is dry.

Counting mice

Step 5

Draw five identically coloured wooden beads and five wooden beads of a different colour onto the bending plush. Bend the end of the bending plush and twist.

Counting mice

Step 6

Form ears using the 4 cm long bending plush. Turn the ends slightly towards each other and stick to the head.

Counting mice

Step 7

Put some UHU All Purpose Adhesive Extra without solvent into a small spray can cover. Using a toothpick, apply adhesive to the points where the eyes should sit and stick on the half pearls. Alternatively, stick black hole-punched discs with the UHU Stic or draw points with the black felt-tip.

Martha Steinmeyer

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©2017 UHU GmbH & Co. KG, Bühl (Baden) and Elke Fox. Editorial staff and photos: Elke Fox.