The Shepherd and the Sheep


In the Shepherd and the Sheep, the children are physically active at the same time as they practise early mathematical skills.


  1. An adult tells an imaginary story about how people could not count in the olden days, so when it was time for the sheep to go onto the pastures they took a stone for each sheep.
  2. The children are sheep who line up on one side of the pasture.
  3. The adult puts out a stone for each sheep that goes out to graze. It is preferable to count with the children as the sheep go out to graze and you put out a stone.
  4. When all the sheep have crawled over the pastures, each sheep comes back one-by-one. The adult takes away one stone after another as the sheep come home again.
  5. The adult stops the game now and again to ponder with the children about how many sheep are still on the pasture by looking at the stones. “Ten sheep when out to graze – how many have come back? How many are missing?”


  • You can add an element to the game where a fox sometimes appears to catch the grazing sheep. All the sheep must now come home quickly to be safe. The adult could be the fox who tries to catch the children.
  • A variation of the game is to change the imitated animals, so the movement pattern used in the game changes.


Stones (or bean bags)


0 - 2 years
3 - 5 years


Large space
Small space

Motor skills

Learning areas

Activity type