Advanced search

Any fun ways to encourage maths skills?

(6 Posts)
Kendodd Sat 22-Mar-14 09:58:55

You know in that to encourage reading you can just read to your children, get them books, children love it and don't even know they're learning.

Anything fun like that we can do with maths? I don't really want computer based games if I can avoid them. The only things I can think of are games like Connect Four and I don't even know if they're useful in this way. Besides games like that always end up in a fight in my house.

Children are 8, 7 and 5

nicename Sat 22-Mar-14 10:06:22

Shopping, cooking, sharing out the smarties... All counting and addition/subtraction. There's the Bedtime Maths website that you can get a daily maths puzzle (with 3 question levels). I get it to keep DS occupied on the school run.

Remember the old Johnny Ball Think of a Number shows? I wonder if they are still around? We have a fairly recent book by him about maths.

Are the children keen/good at maths? There is the Mathletics online quiz type thing where they do quick fire maths competitions against other kids. DS loves it. It gives me palpitations! He is very mathsy and I am not!

PastSellByDate Sat 22-Mar-14 17:20:36

Hello KenDodd:

Just posted a few ideas (SNAP/ Hop Scotch/ Snakes & Ladders) on another feed:

Any board games that involve counting (rolling dice and moving your piece along) are useful.

Monopoly (both dealing with money & rolling dice) is good from age 8 onwards.

Battle ship is brilliant for understanding how plots work (good age 8 onwards).

Sports are good for counting/ adding skills:

Tennis: love (0)/ 15/ 30/ 40 (deuce a tie) - game

6 games to win set (but have to win by 2).

For ages 8+ - understanding statistics in a sports page can be really useful: - Football tables: e.g. - can be full of really useful data to explore: so useful to discuss things like who has won the most games/ difference in number of wins between best and worst team/ percentage of games won/ drawn/ lost out of total games played.

Rugby with various possible scores & tons of statistics:

Cricket - with 1/4/6 scores is also useful.

you name it - there are useful numbers in sports to talk about and learn about.

Proportions are great for things like juices/ smoothies. And the maths tastes brilliant in the end!


The card game Black Jack or '21' - is really useful for number bonds over 10. Also works through probability (For example if you have 2 cards totally 13 and you know that 3 9s are on the table - then your chances of getting a '9' are low - so if you need an 8 for example to make 21, the odds are you are fairly certain to get 8 or below, with only a small chance of getting a 9 and going bust.).

We tend to play this open handed at first (ages 7 - 9) then move on to closed hands. Use normal deck of cards - Ace = 1 and Jack/ queen/ King = 10. All number cards are as shown. shuffle - deal two cards to each player (face up at first) - later only the dealer's cards are shown.

The idea is to get 21 or as close as possible without going over. If you go over you're out (BUST). After dealing each player two cards, you can then ask each player in turn whether they want to stay on the number they're at or have another card.

Winner is the one who gets 21 or closest to it. There can be ties (2 players + with 21 - but that's unusual).


When you get to multiplication tables you can play multiplication SNAP.

Normal deck of cards. you can work to 10 or 12:

TO TEN: Ace = 1, number cards as shown and all Jack/ Queen/ Kings = 10.

To 12: Ace = 1/ number cards as shown/ Jack = 10/ Queen = 11 and King = 12.

Chose a table to practice: Say it's x4. (I usually write this on a post it and stick it next to the deck). Shuffle deck and place deck face down.

Flip card. Say it's 5. So what is 4 x 5 - first to shout out '20' gets the card. Winner is person with most cards.

This can get very loud and fast and furious when everyone gets good - so perhaps best NOT to decide to play this in a restaurant (as we discovered).


Long car journey - EVIL number games:

I think of a number, I multiply it by 4 and divide it by 5 to get 4 as my answer. What was my original number.

Good for long journeys - but you may need to let your DCs use notepad in back of the car.


That sign says 60 more miles until we're there. So if the journey was 320 miles - how many miles have we travelled?

We've travelled 260 miles and used 13 litres of petrol - what was our fuel consumption (miles per litre of petrol)?


At the services - I'm going to give you £5 and challenge you to chose snacks & drinks for everyone without going over your £5 budget.

That will keep them entertained!

BookABooSue Sat 22-Mar-14 17:44:06

Dino Dice is fun

you can play to see who gets the largest number in each round or make a target of fastest getting to 30 (for example).

BookABooSue Sat 22-Mar-14 17:44:38


Kendodd Sat 22-Mar-14 19:43:16

Thank you for all the suggestions, they are great!

We will definitely try to play more card games and hope it doesn't descend into a massive fight

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now