Many parents wonder how best to support their children with learning maths at home. Here are some simple ideas and games you can play with your child from maths teachers, Dennis and Margi Brown. Looking for other ways to support your child with learning maths at home? Download our free maths activity sheets here.
Fun maths learning ideas
Maths is a subject that evokes strong feelings. If we as parents have had a poor experience in school, it’s easy for us to influence our children’s attitude to this subject.
As teachers, we often hear parents justify their child’s struggle with the subject as though it’s hereditary. This does not need to be the case. Playing maths games with young children is such a powerful learning tool.
Good old-fashioned games such as Kim’s Game and matching pairs are great stimulants for memory recall. Counting forwards and backwards is helpful for number fluency.
Make your own counting stick by using a small garden cane and some coloured tape. Mark off 10 equal sections and use the tape for each alternative section so it looks like a long zebra crossing. Then use your counting stick to count in 1s, 2s and 10s to start with, going forwards and backwards. Make it harder by starting to count at different numbers: e.g. 3, 13, 23 etc. Hold the counting stick at a certain section and ask the child which number it’s referring to. This simple tool can be lots of fun.
Another thing you can make together is a bead number line. Use anything from pasta to buttons. Have one string of 10 and another of 20 then use it to reinforce number bonds. Move 3 beads to one end of the string and ask your child ‘3 and what makes 10?’
Finally, make a simple balance out of a piece of strong cardboard or thin wood resting on a narrow block. Choose different objects and guess which ones the heaviest. Then check it out on your balance. Give your child a small potato for example and see if they can find something else to balance it. Have fun playing these games with your children and turn maths into something that’s positive and to be enjoyed.
About the authors
Dennis and Margi Brown are primary school-trained teachers who now run a maths tutoring business in Norfolk. They are also the developers of the tacklingtables times tables card game method used extensively in UK schools.
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