Helping children aged six to seven with maths at home
By this stage, your child is likely to be in Year 2 and will be aware that making mistakes is part of learning.
They will know that if they get something wrong, they need to check their workings and find out where they went wrong or get help from their teacher.
Counting in 2s and 10s
Children still need to practise counting in 2s up to 30 and 10s up to 100, and back again. It's important not always to start at 2 or 10, but sometimes to count on in 2s from 12 or in 10s from 30 or even 45. (You can go on to higher numbers, but ensure your child is keen to do so.) This will help them to carry out mental calculations more efficiently.
Help your child to learn their 2, 5 and 10 × tables. Keep it simple and fun. Practise in the car. See if they can they beat a previous time and reward them with a small treat when they do. After some practice, ask questions such as: Which times table is easiest? Why?
Children at this stage start to work on problems involving money and discuss how they have done it. It will help if your child can recognise coins and be able to give money in a 'pretend' shop situation.
For example: This costs 22p. Can you give me 22p? Which coins would you use? You have £1 to spend. What will you buy? Will you have any change left? What else could you buy? Use real money, if possible – and perhaps a small amount of pocket money for real-life shopping.
This uses addition and subtraction and will help your child to become more confident about money.
Halving and doubling numbers
Your child will be learning how to halve and double numbers in school, and will need lots of practice so they can respond quickly to questions such as, What is the double of 5? 10? What is half of 8? 20? And so on.
There is some emphasis on multiplication, though it may still be done as repeated addition (eg How many wheels on one car? Two cars? etc).
It can be useful to start using a simple calculator to check calculations such as 26 – 9 or 50p + 36p.
Division is still likely to be taught as 'sharing equally'. You can do this at home using any situations that arise. For example, your child has 15 grapes and shares them equally with two friends (three people in all). How many does each person get? What if they had four friends (five in all)? How many would each person get?
To begin with, use anything they enjoy (sweets, grapes etc) that you have available.
Simple fractions will be introduced in school at this stage and you can help at home (eg How would you share a pizza between two (or four) children? How much will each person get? Try with chocolate bars. Share into quarters. How many pieces do you have? If you give half away, what is left?).
When you're playing games, include card games such 'snap' and blackjack, as these help children to learn about 'chance' as well as counting.
A simple dartboard helps with addition, subtraction, doubling and even trebling. They may even learn how to complete with 45 using two or three darts (eg 20 + 25 or 20 + 20 + 5)
Have a 100-square (squared paper will do, but numbered to 100) grid. Then cut it up into four squares of different shapes. Jumble up the shapes, then get your child to put them back together again.
Talk to your child about the strategies they will use (eg the sequence of numbers).
Use a set of dominoes - take out all the dominoes with five or six spots on them and arrange in five lines of three dominoes, but each line of dominoes has to add up to the same total.
Talk to your child about how they might tackle it. Discuss the problems they encountered. Was there an easier way? What strategies helped?