If you are like me you have negative memories of Maths at school! Even if you find it hard to believe Maths can be fun at school and home. Maths concepts are all around us. Many parents think that Maths only involves number concepts. The curriculum not only involves number, but also shape, space and measure.
Here are some hands-on top tips to get those little learners and you engaged, enthusiastic and most importantly having fun with all areas of Maths at home.
Counters: you don’t need to buy expensive counters, anything can be used: pasta, raisins, buttons, playdoh, pencils, sticks, leaves, conkers, peas, pebbles, cheerios, bottle tops etc.
Counting: count going up and down stairs, count favourite objects by lining them up, count birds, trees, leaves etc in the garden. Count forwards and backwards, don’t forget a ‘BLAST OFF’ when counting backwards! Count out correct number of knives and forks, cups, plates etc for laying the table for meals.
Number recognition: make number cards (or buy flashcards online), make numbers out of playdoh, write numbers using shaving foam, sand, paint or bath crayons. Set up a number treasure hunt around the house using numbers written on post it notes. Be a number detective, find numbers at home or in your local environment- on toys, in books, door numbers, shop shelves, road signs and number plates.
Ordering: make a number washing line, write numbers on blocks and build a number line, order objects or toys into sizes, heights or lengths.
Sorting: create a sorting box or basket full of objects and see how your child chooses to sort them. Categories you can encourage: colour, size, type, likes / dislikes.
Matching: make a ladybird or spider template, say a number and your child can make spots or legs to match. Label empty bottles with a number, children to match the correct lid to the bottle or fill the bottle with the correct amount of objects. Make a cheerio, bead or Lego tower to match a given number. Get your child tidying and sorting laundry- match up pairs of shoes or socks!
Patterns: finger paint colour patterns, potato printing shape patterns, make necklaces or bracelets using coloured beads, make Lego or wooden block colour towers.
Measuring: try baking together- read measuring jugs or scales. Measure length and height of objects using a tape measure or non-standard units such as the table is ’10 plastic cups long.’
Songs: there are many to choose from, but here are a few of our favourites- ‘5 Little Ducks went Swimming One Day,’ ’10 Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall,’ ’10 Fat Sausages Sizzling in a Pan,’ ‘One, Two Buckle my Shoe,’ ‘12345, Once I caught a Fish Alive’ and ‘Ten in a Bed.’
Time: early elements include talking about days of the week, months of the year, major events or festivals and most importantly their birthday. Calendars and countdowns are fun and visual for little ones. Giant egg timers (available online or at Early Learning Centre) are a fun visual for challenges such as ‘How many starjumps can you do in a minute?’ or ‘Can you beat the timer to tidy away your toys?’
Money: coin recognition, let them play with coins, set up a little shop or stall for playing with, talk about what money is and how it is used.
Shape: go on a shape hunt, find shapes around the house, make shapes using playdoh, wool, pasta or sticks, make pictures using shape stencils or draw around shapes to make shape stencils.
By Laura Clifford, Little Learning Seeds