Making Maths Fun
Written by Sheila O’Reilly
I’m sure we are all pros at this homeschooling business at this stage right?!😅 Well I thought it might be helpful to share some ways to make Maths more fun, whether you are following home learning set out by school or making additional resources and activities to reinforce Maths concepts at home.
As we all know, young children learn best when they are playing and we need to make our maths activities practical and fun too. Children grasp concepts much more easily when they are meaningful and hands-on. Maths is all around us every day, when we check the time on our watch, pay for groceries, weigh fruit and veg etc. Therefore, we can introduce maths concepts to children at a young age. Real life experiences are by far the most meaningful for children and they, in turn, can imitate these situations in their play.
One of my girls’ favourite role play activities is playing shop and it is the perfect way to explore a variety of maths concepts including counting, colours and shapes, money and mathematical language. For example, ‘How many more?’ ‘Find the difference’ colour and shape words etc. Of course you can also incorporate lots of literacy development too through making shopping lists, writing price labels, designing shop signs...I could go on but I’ll stick to Maths for this blog😅. There are lots of opportunities to develop social and communication skills too through playing with their peers (and no doubt our children will be delighted to play with their friends again when they return to school).
Playing with building blocks and construction sets such as the Rainbow Architect sets also helps children to develop their understanding of shape and space and further develop mathematical language, including their understanding of words such as ‘tall‘, ‘short‘ and ‘heavy’. These activities are wonderful for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills too, all the while making learning fun!
When exploring number concepts, young children really benefit from tangible objects rather than numbers written on a page. When I am exploring numbers with my girls, I make use of our Treasures Super Set loose parts for counting, our jumbo number pebbles and counting bees and ladybirds. All of these resources have really enhanced my girls’ understanding of number concepts and more importantly they are having fun while they learn🙌.
My seven year old is moving on to bigger numbers within 100 and I have created a variety of games to help her understanding and reinforce concepts. For example, using a picture from a colouring book or drawing a simple picture such as an animal or house to create a colour by number activity. This can be used for any age/ability level. For example, for my preschooler I would use this activity for number recognition and to reinforce colours by calling out a number and a colour for her to identify and colour in the correct part of the picture. For my seven year old, I have used this activity for number facts, adding/subtracting 1/10 from a number. It could also be used for times tables facts and lots of other number concepts.
There are also lots of fun games to play using dice. For example, Roll, Add and Colour. A game for two players. Each player chooses a colour and takes turns to roll the dice. If you work out the answer correctly and the number is available you colour that part of the picture. The winner has the most parts coloured. A good game to play with mum or dad or a sibling!
You can also use dice very simply by choosing a target number and taking turns to roll the dice, adding your totals as you go and the winner is the first to reach the target number.
There are also lots of number games you can play with a deck (or two!) of playing cards. For example, playing pairs for number recognition or to make number bonds to 10. For ‘Counting on’ addition practice you can turn over a card, then roll the dice and count on that number. If you get the answer correct you keep the card! Winner has the most cards at the end. Cards are also great for sequencing and ordering activities or finding the missing number etc.
I hope you found this blog helpful and if you try out any of the activities, I’d love to hear how you get on! You can tag @thewoodenplayden and use #wpdhomelearning for all your home learning fun!