One of the missions of education is to prepare children for complex tasks that occur in their cultural environment. By means of abstracting, the effects of this complexity can be reduced. Recent research and theoretical development show us that young children already seem to be able to think abstractly. The acknowledgement of this potential in young children may provide a vehicle for the promotion of more mathematical thinking. In this article, we describe an approach to abstraction that focuses on schematising activities. On the basis of our research, we conclude that young children are able to improve the quality of their abstract mathematical thinking by these means.