Making Maths Fun & Practical for Kids

Without doubt the best way for children to truly ‘understand’ maths concepts is by using a very practical approach. This way you will bring maths to life so children can make sense of why the subject is important. Playing simple, fun games at home can reap benefits for your children in the classroom, teachers say.

Number Pairs/Bonds

Knowing your number bonds or pairs off by heart such as 8 + 2 = 10 or 16 + 4 = 20 is one of the key learning steps for your child, says Sarah Sinclair, primary school teacher. An easy way of reinforcing these are to make up a set of cards 0 to 20 and you can play all sorts of games. Memory games, snap, addition and subtraction, find the pair etc. Alternatively Sarah recommends Orchard Toys Magic Cauldron game.

magic cauldron game

Times Tables 

Learning your times tables can be a real chore but this book is a classic and will teach your child while they colour. All the pictures hide a shape that can be revealed by colouring in the multiples of a certain number. Age 6+ The Multiplication Tables Colouring Book by Hilary McElderry.
Colouring book

Division, division…

Division really means learning about sharing. One of the best ways to do this is to gather items you can use to count with such as grapes, conkers, cutlery, buttons etc. Then ask your child to share them equally between 2, 3 or 4 or more people. Make it fun by dividing up an apple or pizza and ask your child to share it. If there are any are left over this will prompt a discussion about ‘remainders’ and that not every number can be shared equally. Alternatively, there’s a great Pizza Fraction Fun Game you can play that helps with division and understanding the concept of fractions.

Pizza Fraction fun game

Weights & Measures

Quite possibly the best way to illustrate weights and measures is to cook with your children. My children from an early age have loved making cakes, getting out the scales and measuring the flour, sugar and butter. Even better once it is baked you can practice your division skills by sharing it out!

Cake Slices

Telling the Time

Simply reading a bus or train timetable can really help children understand the concept of time and the 12 and 24 hour clock. Or if you are in the car using a sat nav ask your child to work out how long the journey will take and how much longer it will take if you stop for 30 minutes etc. At home using a play clock can also help reinforce the concept of time. We love this one from Melissa & Doug Turn & Tell Wooden Clock.

melissa and doug toy clock

Shopping & Money

One of the best ways to introduce the idea of money is to talk about it when you go shopping. Get them to work out how much two items in your trolley will cost together. Ask your child to use their pocket money to buy something in a shop and work out the change as it all involves adding and subtracting and working out which coins/notes to use. All children love playing shops. Invest in a Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register with Euro Money and you will have hours of fun.

cash registerWord Problems

Parents can help by breaking up word problems, perhaps by drawing a timeline or splitting it into bullet points, says Tash Rosin founder of Teatime Tutors. Even if your child is confident with their number pairs, presenting the sum in a word problem will add a whole different dimension. By illustrating the word problem you will be able to help your child spot which calculations they need to perform to solve the problem.

illustrating word problems