Studies find that the mathematics knowledge acquired in early childhood and early elementary grades is a critical foundation for long-term student success.
— National Governors Association Paper 2014


Sidewalk Math Carpets engage young children ages 3 to 7 in learning mathematical patterns by walking, hopping, jumping, and skipping through colorful designs on carpets that are similar to hopscotch patterns drawn on sidewalks.   However, Sidewalk Math patterns are designed with special attention to the skills that build the mathematical numbersense that students will need to succeed in school.

Check out Sidewalk Math videos on Lesley University’s website!


Numbersense, the ability to count and to see numbers and shapes as patterns of numbers, is at the very foundation of mathematics.   Sidewalk Math patterns were designed in the Creativity Commons of Lesley University by faculty and educators in Early Childhood Education, Mathematics, Art & Design and Creative Arts in Learning.  Each Sidewalk Math Carpet provides a unique mathematical pattern with counting activities that are developmentally appropriate, beautifully designed and mathematically meaningful.

Research demonstrates the impact of Sidewalk Math Carpets on increased growth in numbersense in young children ages 3years to 7 years:  


To guide teachers and parents in the use of Sidewalk Math patterns Lesley University faculty created The Footbook: Steps to Developing Numbersense in Young Children.  The Footbook provides information on the importance of math literacy, ways to engage young children in counting activities, and additional resources (books, songs, objects, and chalk activities) to help teachers and parents count with children.

The Creativity Commons faculty also provide professional development in schools and districts to support early childhood educators in developing guided activities that align with their curriculum and meet the needs of all learners, particularly children with learning differences or those who are English language learners.  For more information, contact Creativity Commons Director Martha McKenna at  


Young children learn through play. Research shows that the learning is more likely to stick when children are intrigued and fully engaged — body, mind, and imagination.  Sidewalk Math Carpets meet these criteria. Sidewalk Math Carpets support learning:

  • Patterns encourage children to practice counting in different ways: forward and backward, counting by, counting on, building the foundations of number sense and operations 

  • Some patterns encourage exploration of color and shape, encouraging not only counting of shapes, sides, and corners, but experimentation with different possibilities for making shapes and patterns, engaging children in thinking flexibly and mastering ideas such as equivalence and regrouping

  • Some patterns help children link size, quantity, and number

  • The carpets encourage children to practice—just because it’s fun—until key sequences and patterns become automatic

  • As play mats, the carpets invite games and conversations, building language and supporting social development and creativity.

Dr. Betty Bardige, co-author of Building Literacy with Love


Uses of Sidewalk Math Carpets in the early childhood classroom include:

  • Creating an indoor space for active play in the classroom

  • Engaging children in demonstrating their counting skills and invite others to join their play

  • Supporting children in learning each other’s languages as they count in different ways

  • Building gross motor skills of children by jumping, tiptoeing, walking backwards, and hopping on patterns

  • Build fine motor skills of children drawing, coloring, and cutting out shapes to make their own patterns

  • Sparking creativity with songs, games, creating art, pretending and developing new mathematical patterns

  • Students taking initiative for their own learning.