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Maths! How can I help without calling it maths?

(19 Posts)
applejack18 Fri 03-Jul-15 21:38:00

My dd is year 1 - bright - but already negative about maths. I'd like to do more at home to promote number work and problem solving etc. without mentioning the M word.
We've done a bit of junior monopoly - what other board games can we do? Uno? How can we practise number skills in a fun/inconspicuous way?
Thanks for any suggestions!

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 03-Jul-15 21:42:31

Shut The Box is good fun and you can get it as an app for your phone.

cornflakegirl Fri 03-Jul-15 21:47:58

Set is a great card game.
Rat a tat cat is good fun and has some sneaky addition.

DarkEvilMoon Fri 03-Jul-15 21:48:52

Baking - measuring stuff
pocket money handling - eg allowed x amount for a treat how can he get the best out of it
Yatzee - the 5 dice version
we did measuring with chalk art on the drive/patio when ds was younger
if you craft and need x amount then get him to help separate
get him to plan a trip out - eg a day that needs to use time tables for public transport (often an adventure in itself for kids), opening times, journey times etc
volume can simply be pouring liquids between different sized containers

There are loads of stuff. If you are on pinterest 'fun maths' can bring up loads of ideas.

penny13610 Fri 03-Jul-15 21:51:00

Chess, Yatzee, Backgammon, poker dice, connect four, tetris and all card games. It is not just about the counting; abstraction and spacial awareness all help with Maths.

Ferguson Fri 03-Jul-15 21:57:24

I wonder why she is 'negative' about it? I assume she is find 'reading' and 'Phonics' easier? And yet really numbers and maths is MORE consistent than words and spelling, which have more variations and exceptions.

I guess 'reading' is an end in itself, whereas 'numbers' need to be used in some context or other. So if you can find practical uses for numbers - measuring for model making or dress making, weighing for a recipe , timing a journey, estimating, making graphs and charts from data which she collects on some topic of her choice - so numbers have a 'use' and 'purpose' and are not just numbers.

I will give you my standard TA Numeracy reply, though it may not all be relevant so take from it are bits that seem useful. The links at the end may be useful:

Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other
then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :

DarkEvilMoon Fri 03-Jul-15 22:08:58

make then dig and compare dinosaur bone length

the build a tower game on this site looks like it could be more lego than maths but might take some prep

The roll a robot game reminds me of the build a beetle game we use to play as kids

Just a few pinterest ideas that came up with the suggested search. There were loads more but I am pinterested out tonight blush

applejack18 Fri 03-Jul-15 22:11:55

Thanks so much for the fab ideas.

Ferguson - I think she is negative because success doesn't come instantly - she's used to things coming easily - she has sailed through reading - she has an amazing memory and is very creative/imaginative. The fact that maths doesn't come easily/interest her impacts her confidence. I really want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a "thing". Also it's hard as she's always tired after school...

applejack18 Fri 03-Jul-15 22:18:57

For baking, what's more beneficial for their learning - digital scales displays numbers or scales with marked increments of 25g ??

penny13610 Fri 03-Jul-15 22:22:19

The best scales for maths are probably balance ones with weights.
Any will help, so use the ones you have. If you have both use different ones on different days.

DarkEvilMoon Fri 03-Jul-15 22:29:14

We also halved/doubled recipes so used maths to work out the new amounts. Which means that it is not so much the scales that matter. but agree if you have different scales mix and match.

I will confess to getting ds a cheap couple of pounds set of scales for him to weigh his stone collection and various bits and bobs in. He destroyed it in a couple of months but much fun was had before it gave up under the strain grin

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Jul-15 22:42:08

Top Trumps are a great way to learn place value and you can find them (or generic equivalent) for pretty much any interest.

Has she made the connection between money and maths yet? If not, she might be happy to practice counting money by playing cafés etc.

applejack18 Fri 03-Jul-15 22:44:19

Good stuff - keep it coming !

SlumdogMummy Fri 03-Jul-15 22:50:56 I use this with my 2 and there are trickier versions, is good fun. Also use top trumps and shut the box. Plus other practical/day to day activities; shopping, cooking, time etc.

StrumpersPlunkett Fri 03-Jul-15 22:57:20

we play stop the bus
which is all about adding.
or pontoon which is the same

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 03-Jul-15 23:09:00

A reward chart where you need five to get the first target, then back to start six for second, seven for third, eight for fourth etc.

On first star/ smiley face 'well done DD, shall we see how many more you need'. 'I'm so proud of you if you do x and y that will be two more how many more will you need to get that little thing that at your age you've only just realised you really really need'.

My DD is a deamon at her divide by three. She's the youngest of three and wouldn't want to miss out. Everything is counted out carefully into piles. She regularly checks and recounts each pile. Likewise as a family of five she can do her five multiples/ divides. Not as hot on the twos and fours which you'd think would be easier.

Money as others have mentioned is anoter good one. I keep lots of small coin change and get DD to help me tot up the coins for things like an icecream or drink when out.

BlueChampagne Fri 03-Jul-15 23:14:17


Can you call it arithmetic? Squeebles times tables and math bingo apps quite good.

BBC Bitesize exercises?

blink1552 Sat 04-Jul-15 01:23:10

Top trumps, definitely, and real money! We do junior monopoly with real pennies, 2ps and 5ps to make it a bit more interesting. She may be ready for proper monopoly earlier than you think - our 5 and 7 year old both loved it last summer, though the little one is quite keen on maths.

Give her pocket money and let her buy penny sweets from the corner shop. Ours has a great range from penny sweets through to 10p-35p little packs like sherbet dibdabs, as well as 'proper' chocolate bars, so DC have a lot of options to weigh up in getting the best sweets for their money.

My little one likes to take a shopping list to the supermarket. Your DD might like to write her own list. After a few weeks, you could start thinking about the prices of the items on her list, maybe estimate beforehand, add them up, find the most expensive etc etc. She could also set up a pretend shop with prices at home.

CatMilkMan Sat 04-Jul-15 01:31:16

DR yeap ban har has a book about teaching maths to children without them knowing, the Singaporean methods are becoming more and more popular in UK primary maths and will continue to.
Have a look at some of his books.

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