It’s Maths Week from 9-14th November this year. The purpose is to promote the message that maths is enjoyable and that it’s embedded in every single person’s life.
Some people believe (perhaps due to negative experiences at school) that maths is difficult and boring, but the truth is the very opposite. Maths is everywhere and we use it all the time – we can’t escape it.
Here we look at how you can use everyday opportunities to extend your child’s maths skills and have some fun!
Most board games involve counting and other maths skills. Traditional games like Snakes & Ladders, Ludo and Monopoly all involve maths. Some games are designed specifically with maths skills in mind. Orchard Toys make several games: Magic Maths, Mammoth Maths, and Times Table Heroes.
If your child likes building with blocks or Lego maths can easily be incorporated. They can count out blocks as they build. Lego blocks have different numbers of studs and these are great for times tables practice. For example, blocks with two studs can be used for counting in twos etc.
Children can use rulers or tape measures to measure the heights and widths of their models. You could ask, ‘Which part is taller/shorter?’ and ‘What’s the difference between the two measurements?’
Maths is all about patterns. Children can make Lego models with repeating patterns, e.g. two red blocks, one blue block, three green blocks, two red blocks, one blue block, three green blocks…
For more ideas read, Questions in block play can support mathematical learning.
Cooking and baking provide plenty of maths opportunities. Children can weigh, measure and count out ingredients and use an oven timer. They will begin to understand how long 25 minutes is, if that’s how long their cake takes to bake.
Develop maths skills and language by giving instructions and asking questions such as:
How much more flour do we need to measure out?
Please put four tablespoons of golden syrup into the bowl.
Can you put in a little bit more/less sugar?
Can you measure out 50ml of milk?
Can you count out five chocolate buttons for each cake?
Can you put the oven timer on for 25 minutes?
How many minutes are left on the oven timer?
Crafts usually involve maths, whether it’s measuring, counting, fractions (halving, quartering) or playing with shapes. As an example see this Christmas tree card craft.
For practicing measuring and problem solving, sewing is brilliant. See 10 best sewing projects to make with kids for ideas.
Children can pay for items in a real shop (or play ‘shops’) so they learn the value of different coins. For example, if something costs 10p they can pay with 2 x 5p, 1 x 10p, 10 x 1p and so on. They can add different shop items together and calculate change.
Older children can work out discounts. For example, how much money will they pay for an item with 10% or 50% off?
Young children learn counting, addition and subtraction through nursery rhymes, especially those with actions. Think about 5 Current Buns and 10 Green Bottles. The BBC schools website has plenty of ideas.
Older children can learn times tables through songs. You can purchase songs or listen to free versions on YouTube.
For young children the first step is to understand the concept of time – how long is a minute? Five minutes? An hour? Say, ‘It’s ten minutes until we go to the park’ (you could set an oven timer or turn a sand timer to show ten minutes). Play games – ‘How many times can you jump on the trampoline in one minute?’ and time your child or count the seconds, ‘One potato…two potato…etc’.
If you are going to school at nine o’clock draw their attention to the hour and minute hand on the clock. Read stories about telling the time such as What Time Is It, Mr Crocodile? by Judy Sierra. Play board games like ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf’ and ‘Telling the Time’ by Orchard Toys.
Children can record temperatures and make graphs or bar charts to record different temperatures each week or each day. You might ask ‘What was the warmest/coolest day?’ and ‘How much warmer/cooler was it?’
You could make a rain gauge together so children can measure the amount of rain that falls and compare different days. Ask, ‘How many centimetres of rain fell today?’ ‘What’s the difference in centimetres between the wettest and the driest day?’ ‘How much rain has fallen in total so far?’
Would your child benefit from extra maths support?
TutorMyKids maths tutors have the ability to make maths applicable to children’s lives by drawing upon real life situations. They also help children to make connections by building on skills previously learnt, and by checking that children have understood concepts rather than simply memorised.
Our tutors adjust their teaching strategies to suit each individual child’s needs and learning styles. Their aim is for children to feel motivated and to have the confidence they need to succeed.
To talk about how we can help your child email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01223 858 421.