My boys are chalk and cheese in pretty much everything, and maths is no exception. Big has always struggled with maths. There have been many meltdowns over it. At one stage he was determined to go back in time and un-invent maths! He never did get the irony of how much maths would be required to invent a time machine! He’s 11 now, and the war with maths is at a truce. He knows he has to do it, but likes to remind us how much he hates it. Over the years I have had to find ways to help him so he doesn’t realise he is doing maths.
Little has recently really clicked with maths. He is in year 2 and absolutely loving it. He makes me ask him maths questions every day. Whilst he doesn’t need encouragement, he does need lots of maths based activities and is asking for them.
So these are a few tried and tested ways to help kids with their maths, for both the reluctant and the enthusiastic mathematicians in your life…
Maths posters in their bedroom can be a gentle suggestion for the maths haters. I always hoped subliminally the equations would sink in! For the maths lovers mine loves doing a little quiz before bed based on his maths posters. We did have a number bonds one that we made ourselves, but we have now progressed to a times table poster.
2 Board Games
Board games can be great for making them do maths without realising. Snakes and ladders is great for younger kids counting. Well until they start cheating that is! Dominoes, monopoly, frustration and any point scoring games are also snaky ways to get some maths in
Cooking was a great way of helping my maths hater realise that we do need maths and use it every day. From measuring ingredients to working out what time to put things in the oven. Plus you get cakes. Win win!
4 Computer games
There something about learning with the aid of a computer that makes it instantly more appealing to kids. So computer games can be a great way to help kids with maths. The kids often use Numbots and Times Table Rock Stars at both school and home. We’ve also been using the hundreds of free games on plays.org. Our favourite at the moment is the maths signs games. You have to click which maths sign is missing from the equation before the time runs out.
5 Pocket Money
Pocket money is a great way to get even the most reluctant to do maths. Especially if they are saving up for something they want! It can be a tricky concept to grasp at first; one of these coins is worth one and the other is worth 5. As much practice as they can get the better.
A great one to trick them into maths. Kids are always counting down for something, Christmas, birthdays, going to a friends. Countdown charts are a great way to get them working out how many sleeps until they spontaneously combust with excitement.
7 Maths Courses
There are some great courses available for parents, because lets face it, the way maths is taught in school has changed a lot since we were taught it. I see maths is a great one that I can personally recommend. It gave me loads of tips and ideas when Big was really struggling and I couldn’t find a way through to help him.
Whether it’s to help them with the concepts they don’t understand, or feed their hunger to learn more, there are lots of maths workbooks available that can really help kids with maths.
9 Counting aids
There are some great toys around to make maths fun and create visual aids which make it easier for children to learn.
10 Going for walks
Going for walks and looking at house numbers is a great way to get them talking about bigger numbers, odds and even numbers, or counting in twos.
There are lots of ways to bring maths into your home and help your children with their learning, subtle and not so subtle. Until they get older and you don’t understand it yourself. Then there’s always google!
Do you have any tips to add to help kids with maths?
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