Everyday ways to make maths fun
You've read to your child regularly since they were a baby, encouraged them to draw and write their letters and drill them on their spelling regularly. When it comes to maths, though, you're out of ideas. Is it possible to make maths learning part of everyday life? Yes – and thankfully you don't have to be a mathematician (or even particularly good at maths!) to get started. It's not all about helping with maths homework, either.
Make maths real at home...
Once you get started you'll find loads of ways to bring maths to life in the house. For example, why not try:
- playing games such as Snap, cards, lotto, bingo, pairs and simple board games with your child. Try creating your own games, too, or ask your child to have a go.
- singing number songs and rhymes.
- sorting, counting, matching and comparing anything and everything together.
- encouraging your child to help you with simple household tasks, such as laying the table. Ask them how many plates or chairs will be needed. If you are baking or cooking together, let them help you with weighing or counting out spoonfuls. Use fractions, too, dividing things into halves and quarters. A standard six, nine, or 12 bun tin offers a wonderful opportunity to practise addition and/or multiplication skills.
- reading the TV guide together and planning family viewing.
- encouraging them to look at the clock regularly in order to relate times to familiar routines and activities.
... and out and about
- When you go shopping, point out prices to your child. Let them pay for small items, showing them which coins they are using. Encourage them to work out amounts. Do they think change will be given? How much?
- When you’re going on a familiar journey, ask them to lead you, talking about the directions you are taking, e.g. left, right, and straight on. Direct their attention to road signs (words and arrows) – motorway ones are brilliant because they’re so big and are repeated. Also try spotting properties of bus and number plates.
- Read bus/train timetables together.
- Use appropriate language to describe positions, sizes and measurements – over/under, in/on, in front/behind, up/down, taller/shorter, fatter/thinner, heavier/lighter, full/empty.
- Try to make the learning of number facts fun, e.g. using times table song tapes in the car.
It's also worth keeping an eye out for maths-related activities at museums and local venues. We love Maths on Toast, who organise fun maths community events for families.
Consult the expert
Worried that maths isn't exactly your strength? TheSchoolRun has loads of advice on increasing your understanding of the subject and how it is taught in school today. You'll find detailed explanations of primary-school maths terminology in our maths glossary for parents, or look through our year-by-year guides to what your child learns in maths (use the orange drop-down mega-menu at the top of the website pages and click on School Year) to be prepared for questions about relevant topics.
You can also ask your child’s teacher for a list of recommended resources, or a reading list of maths-related story books to buy or to borrow from the library. What better way to integrate maths into the lives of children than to read them stories that bring mathematical ideas to life?