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Numicon and Special Words Plus

Using Numicon Resources with Special Words Plus

Special Words Plus features a range of card matching activities working with written words or audio alongside Numicon Shape images. There are 60+ resources available working with different number ranges; 1-5, 1-10, 1-20 and 1-30. Get started by selecting the resource and number range that best matches the level your child is working at or working towards, then select a matching activity. 

The app works by showing the image or written words for children to match, and once matched correctly the audio is replayed. It is this repetition of see, read, hear alongside overlearning that helps children link the visual image to the written words and audio.

Adjusting the settings

Children may not have been exposed to Numicon before meaning they need to learn what each Shape represents, how it can be shown in a written form and how you say the words. We recommend that you start off matching a smaller number of cards to introduce Numicon. The options of Cards Per Page are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8. For younger children or children being introducted to new maths concepts, select a lower number of cards to match and start off by matching Picture to Picture.

Once children have grasped a maths concept and their confidence has grown, make activities harder by using another matching activity and/or increasing the number of Cards Per Page. Switch the Automatic and Loop settings to be ON to support learning through repetiton. You can also increase the difficulty by having Shuffle Cards set to Page so children don't memorise the order of the cards and are actively learning each time they use the activity. 

Numicon resources - Counting Up


When children can correctly match pictures and words we suggest moving onto the later activities in Special Words Plus: Word to Picture, Picture to Word, Sound to Picture and Sound to Word. These activities can be used to assess a child's understanding of what they have been learning by setting Shuffle Cards to All. Watching how they match the cards will show you what they know and what they are guessing.

If children struggle with certain things you can personalise the activity by removing what they know well and focus on practicing what the are unsure of until they can master all the cards in a resources. For example, your child may be very good at matching Numicon Shapes with numbers 1, 2 and 3, 5 and 10 but be much less able with 6, 7, 8 and 9 so you can personalise by downloading Counting Up, 1 to 10 and then deleting cards so that the numbers to match are the ones they are struggling with and focus on practicing these.

Boy using Numicon Shapes and Special Words Plus

We have provided a variety of add-ons for a mix of abilities. When selecting more complex mathematics you may decide to set Cards Per Page as 1 so that your child can be hands on with a tabletop activity matching what they see on the screen with Numicon Shapes, and then matching the cards in Special Words Plus to move on to the next one to copy. If your child is copying what they see on screen with Numicon Shapes they are learning through play in a sensory way.

Personalise resources

You can edit the add-on to add or remove cards, or replace with your own if you so wish. You can edit the text to use the resources in any language, or change the text to ask questions and develop maths skills. 

You can also replace the images with your own photos. Find objects around the home or one a walk to replace the Numicon shapes such as 2 socks or a 4 leaf clover.

Special Words Plus top tips

To get the most out of using the Numicon resources we recommend you get started by:

  1. Select the resource with the number range that best suits a child's abilities
  2. Personalise as needed by editing the text or removing cards
  3. Support learning by changing Settings:
    • Automatic ON
    • Loop ON
    • Shuffle OFF
    • Text To Speech ON 
    • Cards Per Page 1, 2, 3, or 4
    • Use Picture to Picture or Word to Word activities to start with
  4. Once confident assess knowledge and increase the level of difficulty by changing Settings:
    • Shuffle ALL
    • Cards Per Page 4, 6 or 8
    • Change written text to ask questions 
    • Make more challenging with Play Before Match OFF (unless using the Sound to Picture or Sound to Word activities)

When editing add-ons and switching between actvities and settings, we highly recommend switching Child Safety Gate OFF, then you will not be presented with the sum to access Settings.

Please note: Printing of Numicon resources is currently not available. You can edit the resources to tailor them for the need and level of your child by changing the text and/or adding and removing cards in the usual way.

Sign up for a free 14 day trial

Special Words Plus allows you to try before you buy. Start your free trial today to see the impact our Numicon resources can have to children's learning and numeracy work.

Special Words Plus free trial

Our Plus apps are also available for schools, charities and organisations. If you're interested in using Special Words Plus with your students, please get in touch