Have I lost you even before you finished reading the title of this blog? Does the idea of maths strike fear in your heart, and is “fun” the last way you’d describe maths? Don’t worry, I used to feel the same way! But since becoming a primary school teacher and then having children of my own, I have become determined to find the fun in maths and be more positive about it. After all, if we love maths, then our kids will learn from us, and they’ll love it too!
When I started my business (what2buy4kids.co.uk) I was determined to find the best maths toys and games around. We stock some excellent games and they are very popular. Maths Dice Chase and Maths Dice Junior both have the same concept; they are dice games that encourage mental maths and fast sums. The games can be modified depending on the age range of the players, and they are small enough to pack up and take them on the go. The whole family can get in on the fun, and you can make them competitive or add a beat the clock element to make them even more fun. Kids will be having so much fun, they’ll forget they’re learning and practicing their sums!
Orchard Toys, the masters of kids’ games and puzzles, has great games that encourage counting, sums and quick maths. You can start playing simple games from as early as 2 and can play them well into primary years.
Even Roald Dahl is getting in on the action and encouraging youngsters to enjoy maths. Kids will love the links to Matilda and Charlie and all the favorite characters from the classic Roald Dahl books in the pocket-sized maths games.
We don’t have to purchase lots of maths games, because when we look around and think about it, maths is everywhere, and almost every activity is a maths learning opportunity for kids. From simple things like counting cars, flowers or toys, and practicing numbers and patterns with small children, to measuring out ingredients when cooking together, or working out sums with older children, we can ensure that kids are exposed to maths learning everyday.
There are so many games you can make yourself, search on Pinterest and you’ll be amazed at what you find. These are three games I found that I love:
Lego Game for learning adding and taking away
We saw this on teachwithlaughter.co.uk and we love it. A simple game piece that you can print off (there is a template on their website) and Lego bricks that we all have lying around the house is all you need for some maths fun
This great game is from planningplaytime.com. All you need for this game are some wooden clothes pegs, a permanent marker for writing your sums out and number cards (that you can make yourself).
Bonus: You can do this same game for subtraction, multiplication and division games too, you just may need to buy some more pegs!
Just like the maths game on Countdown, this is a great game you can do at home with kids. All you need is a whiteboard, some post-it notes, and a whiteboard pen. We saw this idea on games4learning.com.
If games are not your thing, try introducing maths into everyday life. Count out loud all the time, encourage your child to help you do the shopping, “you choose three apples, take one away and how many do we have?” and support measuring and counting when cooking together. Use everyday objects as props to introduce concepts like adding, taking away too.
For more complicated sums:
- Use a bowl of dried pasta and add some pieces to the bowl, count them, then take some away and then count them again. You’ve just practiced addition and subtraction!
- Get some sweets out and put out a few bowls and share the sweets into the bowls evenly. You’ve just practiced division!
With little ones, learning numbers is just like learning letters. Repetition, recognition, and practice is what it takes.
I hope I’ve given you some maths inspiration and confidence, and I hope you and your child enjoy the world of maths and have fun in the process!
Lisa is the managing director of what2buy4kids. Lisa’s wish is to make your job of finding a gift for the children in your life easier or help you to take some of the time and frustration out of the search for that special gift for kids.