10 of the best (free!) maths games websites for primary children

Most children love interactive games so they’re a brilliant way to practise maths at home. Children can choose games that appeal to their interests and take control of their own learning by selecting the level of challenge that’s right for them.  All the games here are suitable for playing on a PC, and most work on Macs and Ipads too.  Before children play remind them about internet safety, particularly the importance of never giving away personal information online.  We recommend reading Kaspersky’s Top 7 Online Gaming Dangers & Risks for Kids and Teens.

Here’s a selection of our favourite maths games websites.

1.Topmarks

Topmarks divide games into age categories: 3-5, 5-7, 7-11, and 11-14 years.  Categories cover all relevant areas of the National Curriculum. 

Mental Maths Train for 5-7 year olds is one of our favourites.  It’s a bright, attractive game that enables children to choose an operation (adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing) and a level of challenge.  A sum appears on the screen.  When children click on the truck with the correct answer the train whistles and whooshes away.

2. ICT Games

Each game is aimed at both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 so children select the number range and operation to match their ability.  Learning objectives, which are organized by year group, appear alongside each game. 

We love Duck Shoot.  It’s a fairground game in which children count in multiples ranging from 2 to 12 depending upon their preference.  When they click on the correct duck there’s a ‘ting’ and when it’s the wrong duck the cowboy running the game yells ‘youch!’

3. Maths Frame

These games are supposed to be aimed at Key Stage 2 but when you click on some of them you find they’re suitable for Key Stage 1 too.

Key Stage 2 Maths Invaders is great fun.  Children choose an operation, say fractions, and they select the type of fractions they want to work with (halves, quarters etc).  Levels range from ‘very easy’ to ‘very hard’ so children can self-differentiate.  A question appears in the starry sky and children shoot the rocket displaying the correct answer.

4. Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl games are for children aged 3-5, 5-7 and 7-9 years old.  There are printable worksheets to reinforce the skills practised in the games.  Many of the games follow exactly the same format so there is the danger of boredom. On the plus side this means that they’re easy to understand and so even very young children can play independently. There’s also an audio button so the instructions can be read aloud to young children. 

Match the Shape is a lovely game for 3-5 year olds in which children drag and drop shapes onto real-life scenes.  In a park children drag a triangle onto a kite, an oval onto a balloon, a square onto a window and a rectangle onto a waste bin etc.

5. BBC Bitesize

This is more of an interactive learning experience than a set of maths games.  Children click on a skill they would like to learn eg. ‘How to multiply and divide by 0, 1, 10 and 100’ which takes them to a learning page.  There they find a video teaching them the skill beneath which are step-by-step written instructions.  Each written instruction is accompanied by an interactive activity so children can practise what they have learnt at each stage. 

If children are having difficulty mastering a particular mathematical concept at school then this is a particularly useful website to explore.

6. SplashMath

This is a US website with games for children in primary and secondary school.  There are logic games, puzzle games and racing games for practicing skills across the mathematics curriculum.  Games are easy to understand so they can be played by young children independently.

The Ruler Game is a fun way to teach measuring skills.  There’s a child’s voice narrating the instructions and gentle sound effects bring the game to life.

7. Crickweb

Here you’ll find seventy-four maths games for children from 4-11 years old covering the topics in the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum.  Most of the games use Adobe Flash Player which can be downloaded for a fee.  Games are easy to understand with audio instructions to foster young children’s independence. 

We like Sweet Shop –  a money game in which children choose items to buy and then drag and drop the correct coins to pay for them.

8. Hamilton Trust

Hamilton Trust Quick Maths games cover Years 3 – 6 and they all require Adobe Flash Player to work.  The games are designed to accompany the Hamilton Trust’s maths plans for teachers but they’re free and can also be used at home.  They are a fast-paced, exciting way to reinforce children’s maths skills.

One of our favourites is Jigsaw Subtraction Facts for 14 and 15 in which children piece together puzzle pieces to make the target numbers 14 and 15.

9. Nrich

Nrich is a Cambridge University initiative which aims to develop both children’s mathematical thinking and their problem-solving skills.  These games or ‘interactives’ are aimed at primary aged children and they really do challenge children’s thinking because even the instructions can be difficult to understand, retain and follow. 

We recommend trying activities yourself before suggesting them to your children in order to avoid frustration. 

10. Math Playground

This is a US website with innovative games suitable across the primary age range.  They have a ‘game spotlight’ which encourages children to try a game that’s new to them each time they visit.  Children can play games with a friend or by themselves against the computer.  Beneath each game ‘learning connections’ or objectives are listed.  These include a breakdown of both mathematical and thinking skills.

The Grand Prix Multiplication game will appeal to all vehicle lovers.  Children choose a car colour to race.  When a sum pops up if they answer it correctly their car zooms ahead!

Does your child need extra help with maths?

TutorMyKids offers both short-term and long-term mathematics tuition for children from primary age onwards.  Whether your child is struggling with a particular area of maths or needs to master a greater range of skills we are here to support them. 

We aim to foster a can-do attitude which in turn will raise your child’s achievement.  Get in touch today!

GCSE writing for a purpose: articles

This is the first in a series of blogs to help you to ‘write for a purpose’ in preparation for English Language Paper 2.  In this post we talk about how to write an article which requires you to argue a point. 

This is a sample question from an AQA English Language paper, June 2017:

 ‘Parents today are over-protective. They should let their children take part in adventurous, even risky, activities to prepare them for later life.’ Write an article for a broadsheet newspaper in which you argue for or against this statement.

Here’s how you could tackle it:

1. Gather your ideas

Decide whether you are for or against this statement.  Think of at least five strong points to support your argument and jot them down, perhaps as bullet points.  Each point will become a paragraph in your article.

2. Plan for skills

You need to demonstrate the following skills (which you can remember as ‘DAFOREST’):

  • Direct address.  Address the reader as ‘you’ to make them feel the article is personally relevant to them.
  • Alliteration.  Alliteration is a great technique for making statements memorable.
  • Facts.  In an exam you will make up facts. For a newspaper article invent some quotes that will support your argument.
  • Opinions.  Use your own opinions (this goes without saying here!).
  • Rhetorical questions.  These are questions which don’t need an answer but help to strengthen your argument eg. ‘Do you think today’s children are smothered and cosseted?’
  • Repetition.  Like alliteration, repeating words or sentences reinforces your message.  Some stories and poems, for example, start and finish with the same sentence.  Politicians use repetition in speeches to argue their points eg. Tony Blair’s famous quote, ‘Education, education, education…’
  • Emotive language.  Again, this strengthens your argument.  Words like ‘smothered’, ‘stifled’ and ‘oppressed’ elicit a strong emotional reaction.  Instead of the word ‘bad’ you might use ‘torturous’ or ‘barbaric’.
  • Statistics.  This is linked to facts.  Use made up statistics to support your argument.
  • Three (rule of).  For example, ‘By overprotecting children parents are undermining their self-esteem and confidence and causing rebellious behaviour’.

Jot down how you are going to demonstrate each of these skills in your article (perhaps at the same time!), for example:

Direct address/rhetorical questions: ‘Do you tidy your child’s room or put away their clothes?’ ‘Do you interfere with their friendship choices?’

Alliteration/rule of three: ‘If you ease up on the reins your child will be more confident, contented and courageous enough to bounce back after failure’.

3. Plan the counterargument

You need to predict how your reader might argue against some of your points.  Jot down these ideas as bullet points and consider how you will defend your arguments.  For example, ‘You might think that tidying your child’s bedroom is kind, but it causes them misery in the long-term because when they leave home and live with another person they will become unpopular if they don’t help with household chores’.

4. Plan your headline and subheadings

Headlines are much easier to write when you know what your article is going to be about because the job of the headline is to tell the reader, in an instant, what to expect from the article. 

Write a headline that pique’s your reader’s curiosity and draws them in.  Use action verbs and remove any unnecessary articles.  You can use persuasive devices such as alliteration, rhetorical questions and the rule of three in your headline.

Subheadings are important too because they ‘hook’ your reader as they are scanning through the article. Subheadings outline the key idea in each paragraph – the shorter they are the better!  You don’t need to use a subheading for every paragraph; always consider where you think they’re most useful.

5. Plan connectives

What connectives will you use to join paragraphs and sentences?  Try to include a variety.

Adding information: and, also, as well as, furthermore, moreover, too

Building upon an idea: as long as, if

Cause and effect: because, consequently, so, therefore, thus

Comparing: as with, equally, in the same way, like, likewise, similarly.

Contrasting: alternatively, although, apart from, but, except, however, in contrast, instead of, on the other hand, otherwise, unless, unlike, whereas, yet

Emphasising a point: above all, especially, indeed, in particular, notably, significantly.

Giving examples: as revealed by, for example, for instance, in the case of, such as.

Sequencing ideas: firstly, secondly, afterwards, eventually, finally, meanwhile, next, since, whilst. 

6. Write your answer

Planning your answer as above should not take more than 10 minutes.  The only way to speed up the process is to practise exam questions.  Sample questions from the English Language GCSE Paper 2 can be found online.  The more you do now the quicker you will be on the day. 

After 10 minutes planning you will have 35 minutes to write the rest of your answer.  Don’t forget to leave some time at the end to read through and check your writing.

When writing your answer:

  • Write an engaging opening.  Use emotive language or a rhetorical question to draw the reader in.
  • Look at your plan and write your paragraphs in an orderly sequence.
  • End with a clear and firm conclusion to your argument, perhaps using the ‘rule of three’.

7. Edit your answer

You’ve finished – hooray!  Take a few minutes to check for SPaG – spelling, punctuation and grammar.  Make any improvements you need to.

Would you like further support?

TutorMyKids offers one-to-one tuition for GCSE English Language and English Literature students.  Our tutors can collaborate with you and your teacher to address the areas you’re struggling with, strengthening your skills and giving you an extra boost of confidence on exam day!

Why-we-can-flip-flop-but-not-flop-flip-The-querkiness-of-our-English-language

Why flip flop is ok and flop fip isn't
Why flip flop is ok and flop flip isn’t.

Why we can flip flop but not flop flip.

As adults we instinctively hear and learn the right grammar rules over years of usage. Have you ever thought of why we say things in this order. No me neither – Take a look below.

Why we have hip hop muis not hop hop.

And how about Great, green dragons not Green, great dragons.

I love all these glorious snippets of our English language.

If you’re a teacher who loves imparting English language click the link to find out more about becoming a private tutor in Cambridgeshire or email me, Rachel Law at hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange to have an informal chat on the phone.

 

 

Very-Happy-Bunnies-about-GCSE-and-A-Level-Results-at-TutorMyKids

Very Happy Bunnies at Tutor My Kids about the GCSE and A level results
Very Happy Bunnies at Tutor My Kids about the GCSE and A level results

Fabulous GCSE and A Level results from our students and their private tutors at TutorMyKids.

This last couple of weeks has been absolutely fabulous. It’s been our very best year for great GCSE and A level results from our students and their private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas. It is one of my very favourite parts of what we do at Tutor My Kids – talking to parents and our private tutors and finding out how successful the tuition has been and the results achieved.

The proof of the pudding…

Wins come in all shapes and sizes: greater confidence, moving up a maths set, but I suppose the ultimate test is exams, when the work is entirely unguided and unsupported.

…is in the eating.

All our clients and students have different goals for their private tuition, but it’s always life changing – especially when it comes to these exam results.

We’ve a student who’d missed a lot of time due to illness who has achieved A*s in sciences, which has enabled her to take up her place at Hill’s Rd. We’ve a student who had been predicated Es for maths and English who had been offered only vocational courses at Long Road who achieved Bs in English language and English literature, plus a C in maths. She’s now had her options massively widened – with A levels open to her as well as a much broader range of subjects. This is truly life-changing stuff.

Why are these results so good?

Well, I’ve found myself pondering this, because they are better than any other year so far. For some clients, we’ve been working with their children for 2 or 3 years, so it’s a cumulative effect of filling gaps in their knowledge so they’ve been thoroughly prepared by our private tutors, who are almost exclusively qualified teachers. However, some has been tuition that was put in the in final months before the exams, to shore up gaps, cover exam technique plus that key understanding of the marking scheme – what will score marks and what isn’t worth wasting time on. For more info on tuition for GCSE exam and A level tuition, click the links.

I think it’s that essentially that we’re blessed with a fantastic team of amazing teachers who tutor with their heart and soul (as well as paper and pen!). Our teachers are an absolute credit to us; they are the core of what makes us really good at what we do. They build the strongest bonds with their students and parents – it’s far from just a job. This engenders an amazing belief in the student which then becomes self-belief within the student and family.

Our parents are also doing an amazing job of supporting their children between sessions. Sometimes it’s helping with homework, often just a small prompt and a calm place to work. Plus of course, ensuring that their children are there regularly for the tuition.

How do you get such fabulous teachers?

We’re really lucky that we get teachers who are recommended to us by other great teachers. It’s not unusual to have a private tutor bring another great tutor on board. If you’re a qulaified teacher who’s interested in exploring becoming a private tutor, click the link or get in touch with Rachel Law at hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange an informal chat.

How do you match them to the student so well?

In the same way as we get great teachers recommending us, we are really fortunate that we get a large percentage of our clients who are recommended to us by existing clients. So I think we’re getting a core of clients who are really committed to helping their children to be the best they can be.

We always visit our clients in their home to discuss and/or assess their needs; we want to ensure the right academic fit. In addition the right personality fit, is as (if not more) important as the correct academic fit. What we do is find the right tutor for the individual student’s needs: for example it’s often much more effective to have a primary school teacher (with good secondary curriculum knowledge) tutor maths to a weaker secondary student because they are often better at filling in basic maths gaps. Equally, if you have a very talented mathematician, you need to put in someone who can really stretch that student to reach their full potential. I suppose it’s that really great knowledge of the tutors and their strength which enables us to get such a great match. Put this together with a great personality fit between the student and tutor, great commitment on both sides and it’s a winning combination.

Happy Bunny

Whatever the reasons, I’m such a happy bunny that we’re delivering such great outcomes for such fabulous students and their families.