Activities to practice and improve maths skills

Mar 2012
Use a TV guide and get children to calculate the duration of their favourite programmes.

Building and developing children's numeracy skills can help them to tackle mathematical problems in a variety of contexts. While there is definitely room for learning via text books and written exercises, children learn most readily when a number of their senses are engaged.

Children appreciate learning that feels more like play than work, and there are a number of hands-on, numerical activities that parents can carry out with their children.

Pupils in the Early Years Foundation Stage are regularly encouraged to learn through explorative play and this does not need to stop once your children reach the first stages of their 'formal' education.

Below are a number of activities that are designed to stimulate and encourage children's love of mathematics:

Play 'ping pong' as this will help your child cement their knowledge of number bonds. You will say an initial number and they will reply with the pair to 10, 20, 100 or 1000. Encourage children to use their knowledge of smaller bonds, such as 7 + 3 = 10, to work out larger complementary numbers, e.g. 70 + 30 = 100.

'Guess my shape' is a game which involves you thinking of a shape and your child posing subsequent questions about its properties until the identity of the shape is uncovered.

You can also go on angle and shape hunts around the house, asking questions as you go.

Use a TV guide and get children to calculate the duration of their favourite programmes. They can go on to calculate how much time they spend watching these programme over days or weeks.

Bus and train timetables are also useful for improving children's mathematical reasoning. Children can calculate journey times and intervals between departure times.

Cut out numbers from magazines and newspapers and help your child to put the numbers in different orders.

Encourage your child to count different household objects such as pasta, coins, buttons etc.