My 4-year-old daughter fell in love with this the minute we got it out the Amazon package! We spent the majority of the day playing with it, and after just one day we have thought of countless games and activities we can do with it.

I confess, when I first took it out of the parcel, I thought hmmm, it’s just wooden blocks with sums on, is this really going to be any help or use? But after five minutes of watching my little girl get the blocks out and start sorting and doing number activities all of her own accord, my mind went into overdrive and I realised just how versatile this can be, not just for learning counting skills, but for sorting and motor skills, too.

The item itself is wonderful quality – nice, colourful blocks with a sum on one side and the answer on the other. The answer is also printed on the space on the tray under each block as well. It also comes with a cloth bag to store the cubes in when they’re not in the tray.

On the day we opened it, we played several games. My daughter had a go at some of the sums, before enjoying taking all the cubes out of the tray. Then we made more of a fun game out of the sums, by putting them in the bag and pulling cubes at random. Next we had fun putting the cubes back in different ways, working out where they should go by colour, number and pattern sequencing.

We really, really love this! But the question is, does it help with maths? Yes, most definitely. So long as you make it fun (and I’ve listed lots of ideas for activities below), kids will love playing with this, and pick up the maths as you go along – far more so than if you just sit there reading the sums and testing them. My little girl loved trying to guess the sums and learning to add together, both with and without fingers!

We’re in the UK and bought ours here for around £8.99. Worth every penny! So much so, we’ll be getting the Ulysse multiplication table too, when my daughter starts learning her times tables. A definite winner in this house!

Putting the cubes back in the tray is great for fine motor skills, counting, recognising number sequences, colour sequencing and more!

Sorting by numbers and colours

We used the bag to create more activities, such as a random dip and count game

When my daughter started using the cubes like this, it reminded me of rolling die, so...

...we got a bead and used it to throw into the empty tray, and then had to sing a song or state a fact about the number it landed on

My little girl was fascinated by the patterns she saw emerging as she put the cubes back, and loved noticing the different sequences, rows and columns

Ways to Use the Ulysse Addition Table:

  • Learn sums and counting by reading the sums aloud and checking the answer underneath
  • Recognise and learn number sequences by looking at the rows and columns to see repeated patterns
  • Learn about rows and columns by telling them to put a cube back in row 5, column 6 and so on
  • Reading sequences diagonally, horizontally, vertically etc
  • Organise cubes by colour patterns
  • Organise cubes by number patterns – same number by rows, same number by columns, same number by answer etc
  • Practise fine motor skills by taking cubes in and out. Play game where you set a timer and see how many cubes your child can get back in within the time frame
  • Throw a bead or similar small object into the empty tray and do something for each number, such as sing a song (e.g. Five Little Ducks for 5), say a fact (there are seven days in a week for 7), or think up something fun or personal (15 is the date you were born, or in bingo they say “legs eleven”). You could plan in advance for this by creating flashcards for each number and turning them over
  • Combine the cubes to make longer sums
  • Sort the cubes into the sums that add up to the same number

These are just the actitivities we thought up on the first day – there are lots more ideas too – what else can you think of?

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