Here's how to make learning about number at home FUN and really powerful
Share these maths activities, board games, dice games and card games and really help your child to
Why maths at home can really help
Follow the expert parent guidance to start your child's learning journey playing with real objects at home. All the educational research shows that this promotes the best learning, but children often miss out because it can’t happen on a screen or in a workbook, and doesn’t work so well with a large group of children. Extend the learning with pictures. This is a bigger step than you might think but because some of those pictures are photos of real objects familiar to your child, you’re helping them take their learning to the next level in easy stages. Brilliant!
Don't worry about not having the maths equipment found in schools. Print the number lines, number tracks, slavonic grids and use these really useful tools as you are having fun playing the games.
Activities and games for 4 to 5 year olds-number
Activities and games for 5 to 6 year olds-number
Activities and games for 6 to 7 year olds-number
Fun family activities and games learning to recognise small numbers without counting.
1 Hide Two and Seek
Discover how much you can really help your child at home by having fun with these practical maths activities.
Introduce the learning by playing with real objects. All the educational research shows that this promotes the best learning, but children often miss out because it can’t happen on a screen or in a workbook, and doesn’t work so well with a large group of children.
Extend the learning with pictures. This is a bigger step than you might think but because those pictures are photos of real objects familiar to your child, you’re helping them take their learning to the next level in easy stages. Brilliant!
Fun family activities and games to develop familiarity with the shape of numbers 1 to 9
2 Choose a prize
Beginner writers find lots of reasonable ways to form numbers that don’t quite match the recognised form.
Share colouring number shapes, and feeling number shapes in a bag - combine with a board game and your child will have experienced very strong visual and tactile learning which will really help their ability to form the numbers with pen and paper.
Fun family activities and games to develop understanding that the last number in a count is the number label given to the whole set.
3 Jumping Beans
Get the learning started with a classic number rhyme. It’s actions help the whole body be involved in getting a feel for number, a superb foundation to build mathematical learning.
Make some jumping beans, my absolute favourite as an easy way to bring numbers to life. They’re also great for addition, subtraction and your child will be getting an early introduction to probability too, Wow.
When they’re starting out with numbers a child may count ladybirds - one, two, three - but not realise that they can then say that there are three ladybirds in the group. It seems obvious but it isn’t. As you play and talk about the beans, this important link will be revealed.
Fun family activities and dice game learning to touch count.
4 In the jungle
Pattern is fundamental to music and maths, and this is one reason why they are thought to be closely related. A number song is easier for a child to remember because of the relationship of the words and the musical pattern. Get singing and the rhythm will support your child’s memorisation of the order of numbers up to five.
By playing with real life objects in the game, you will share an experience very valuable to your child. You simply cannot pick up this experience from the page of a workbook or a screen, and such activities are difficult to manage with a large class of children. Objects of different sizes are deliberately chosen to touch-count as this extends the learning to the next step beyond touch counting very similar objects.
Fun family activities, dice game and board game matching a number symbol to an amount.
5 Start to finish
Your child may be confident to say, for example, “eight” when she sees the abstract symbol ‘8’, and although to an adult it seems obvious it’s another big learning step to have an understanding of the amount eight.
Connecting physical actions to the numbers is the most powerful way to develop this learning. Have fun with these activities and games and what you share will be so valuable to your child’s learning. The numbers will be brought to life in a way that simply cannot happen on screens or on the pages of workbooks.
Fun family activities and dice game learning the order of numbers 1 to 10
7 All in Order
Your child may be very confident to say “one, two, three,...nine, ten” as a rhyme. Although it seems to follow on, to put the symbols 1, 2, 3...9, 10 in order is another big learning step.
A number song is easier for a child to remember because of the relationship of the words and the musical pattern. Get singing and the rhythm will support your child’s memorisation of the order of numbers up to ten.
Play the dice game and by sharing only short parts of the sequence saying “three, four, five” for example, and you will be really helping your child to take their learning to the next level.
With number cards your child can play with the order of the number symbols, and it’s very easy to make adjustments - no crosses needed!
Fun family activities and games learning that the last number in the count is the number label given to the whole set.
8 More Jumping Beans
Make some jumping beans, my absolute favourite as an easy way to bring numbers to life. They’re also great for addition, subtraction and your child will be getting an early introduction to probability too, wow.
Using photos is a powerful way to support your child moving on their learning from counting objects to counting more abstract pictures which cannot be handled. It’s a lot harder for your child, but because they will be counting from an image of objects that they have already handled themselves you will be providing very special support for this learning.
Fun family activities and board game learning to label a set of objects with a number e.g.5
9 Spotty Cats and Dogs
By sharing these activities with your child at home you will be supporting their learning in easy stages, so that they can be confident labelling a set of objects on the page with the symbol 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.
By playing the game several times your child may begin to develop the skill of ‘subitising’ sets of three and maybe four - that is, recognising the number in a group without counting. Recent research suggests that subitising can help children build images for numbers and that this in turn is a great foundation for them to learn number facts.
Fun family activities and games learning to subitise up to four.
20 Feel 4 Four
By playing games with a dotty dice your child may have learned to recognise the pattern of, for example, four dots as four. This is a brilliant start to their development of the skill of subitising - identifying how many there are in a set without having to count.
Research shows that babies can subitise two and toddlers three - but four is quite a big jump, and five is our brain’s limit without using pattern.
Share these fun games and activities with your child and they will be guided to develop subitising skills.
Fun family activities and board game learning about even and odd numbers.
24 The Even Chase
Grounding your child’s understanding of odd and even numbers with their experience of odd socks is a brilliant example that the maths you share at home with your child can have a powerful impact on their understanding and attainment. I have worked with GCSE students unable to answer questions which mention even or odd because they become confused which is which.
Share the fun of the game for lots of opportunity to practice the skill of identifying numbers as even or odd.
Extend the learning with an activity that you can share anywhere anytime.
Family fun activities counting objects up to twenty.
Your child will have a strong foundation to build on if they can develop a feel for numbers, for this will enable your child to have a much better idea if the answers they work out are sensible or not, and that counts for a lot. Estimating and counting everyday objects inside and out will offer wonderful opportunities to start this learning journey. Play games with one pence coins and your child will have lots of opportunity to practise accurate touch counting as well as a purpose to try out patterns and strategies to count larger amounts more easily.
Family fun lotto game counting forwards and backwards in 10s.
Share the exploration of what happens when you count forwards and backwards in tens and your child’s understanding of patterns in our number system will be strengthened. These patterns can be incredibly helpful to your child’s number work both now and well into their future. Chanting is a long established aid to learning but by chanting in turns with your child you will be taking the learning to a much higher level and having a laugh too. These games will also help your child to start to become familiar with a hundred square, a tool widely used in schools, particularly useful for this task.
Make the learning relevant to your child by searching through some old family photos. They’ll be lots of opportunity to talk about numbers and a whole lot more!
Family fun card games and board games ordering numbers.
By making a number track together and using colour to emphasize pattern you will really be helping your child. In our number system patterns in the numbers from 1-10 are then repeated. As your child starts to use the pattern and similarities they will have a real head start for work with the numbers 11-20 and beyond. The second game is especially designed for you to have fun whilst powerfully helping your child move from being able to see the numbers on the track to creating mental images of their position. You can choose a version of the final game depending on your child’s interests. As well as offering practice in ordering numbers, jumping along the track is also a brilliant way to help your child develop that important feel for numbers.
Family fun activities and lotto game recognising number words up to twenty.
Number Word Lotto
Play these games and you will be helping your child discover when we use patterns and when we don’t as we read and write numbers in words.
Get the learning started by getting creative as you sharing drawing some mini pictures. For the next stage have a go at matching numeral cards to the number words presented in order before moving onto playing a lotto game. Your child will be able to practise writing number words making some new lotto boards and playing with fonts on the computer.
Family fun activities and dominoes game ordering numbers up to thirty.
Number track dominoes
Counting one, two…..thirty can be learned as a rhyme. Chanting whilst doing an action will encourage your child to develop some connection with the numbers. Have a laugh when it goes wrong! To follow on, play with the dominoes and create the sequence of numbers. The patterns reveal themselves as you play, taking the learning to the next level. A really good familiarity with these patterns will make the sequence of even bigger numbers, make more sense to your child.
Family fun activities and board game learning ordinal numbers.
Past the finish
Pass on the learning with this first activity designed to offer you and your child lots of opportunity to use the words first, second...tenth (ordinal numbers), in a meaningful way, and just maybe also lead to two quite different eating experiences!
Further games with game boards to colour and write on will support your child to become more confident reading, writing and understanding both the word e.g. second and the number e.g. 2nd versions. Ooooo there’s another word ‘second’ that has double meaning just in maths!
Family fun activities and dots and boxes games learning about numbers up to fifty.
Join the dots to 50
Any number grid is a powerful learning tool to help your child see the patterns in our number system. Play these games with your child and they will get to know the top half ‘a hundred square’, widely used in schools, with their eyes closed! A second game based on the 1-50 grid encourages your child to start to use strategy, a high level mathematical skill.
In the final game you are guided to play with coins and discover how we can use 10’s and 1’s when trying to work out how many more to make fifty.
Family fun activities and games comparing numbers.
More or less
Being confident about how each number relates to other numbers is fundamental to addition and subtraction and a whole lot more. These games take you through a development progression using objects that can be handled to start, moving on to use a number track and finally using abstract mathematical symbols.Talking about your choices as you play the games will encourage your child to develop a really thorough understanding of number relationships. Celebrate when you find it hard to win, it’s because their skill and confidence have grown!
The advantage of playing with maths symbols and numbers on cards is that you can easily move them around and try out lots of different variations- your child will not only be doing lots of sums in a friendly way but also discovering the patterns and relationships that connect them.
With an element of chance combined with encouragement to think ahead and choose strategically the dizzy doughnut game offers opportunity for mathematical learning at a high level along with lots of fun.
Building upon earlier activities these games and activities will help your child to secure their knowledge of the patterns in our number system up to one hundred.
Using the support of a bead number line takes the learning one step on from having written numbers in a hundred square and offers even more powerful learning opportunities when it is handled with eyes closed.
The final activity embeds the learning into real life experience.
Play these games and you will be helping your child discover when we use patterns and when we don’t as we read and write numbers in words.
Have fun as the three games take your child from reading two digit numbers and finding them on a number line, through matching numerals to number words and onto writing those numbers, not randomly as you would in a work book but on a giant hundred square where the patterns can powerfully reveal themselves.
Ask, “how many giant steps will you make before you reach the slide?” and get stared with some estimation - a really useful skill that can underpin so much of maths. It also powerfully gives a real life context to the idea of rounding numbers to the nearest ten. By playing the second game, your child will be encouraged to make lots of choices, really helping them to puzzle over this important concept. Try out the ideas on your shopping basket and you may have some surprising results!