It's World Maths Day tomorrow, but if numbers aren't your strong point, here are some tips from educational toy website Zoobookoo to help you out.
The website's founder Karen Wattleworth is a mum of two boys, and believes that by motivating parents and carers to have a positive attitude to numeracy and using it more readily in every day situations with children from a young age, the UK's youth will be rising stars in the World Maths Day challenges of the next decade.
Here are Karen's tips to help you develop a
positive attitude towards numeracy in primary school children:
From a young age and at every opportunity encourage your child to count out loud: eg apples in the shop. Build up to working out how many items you need to buy. For example, if there are four in your family, and you will each eat two apples in a week, how many do you need for the week? Extend this to working out how many miles to go when travelling and other every day situations
2. Number line
This is a line with numbers – usually to 20 to begin with. It visually demonstrates to the child increasing and decreasing quantities. Many of us learn visually. Make your own on a large sheet of paper – it could be a colourful snake, a long scarf etc, and work through lots of examples saying if you start on 6 and add 2 how many do we have. Try subtracting too.
3. Number bonds
You can download these for free from here - they're as vital in the early days as the times tables are later. They form a building block for the harder sums. Ensure your children know their number bonds by heart
4. Times tables
Probably the most important building block in a child's numeric development. It is a key stone to all other mathematical challenges, not to mention incredibly useful in real life. Chant them, sing them, forwards, backwards, test each other, practise the easy ones they may have forgotten. Make it second nature for them; this is a gift for life
5. Activity place mats
Extend meal and snack times into useful together time. Before the meal and after you can have fun with write-on wipe off activity maths mats. There are even some Magic Mats which have invisible answers that the children can reveal by rubbing a magic box with their finger. This can buy you valuable time to prepare dinner!
6. Dice games
Keep a dice game in your bag for those 'waiting' moments in restaurants or at the doctors. Many are great fun and are wonderful for reluctant mathematicians (education by stealth).
7. Think in 10s
You may do this instinctively but if not then start now. So 22 plus 13 is 22 plus 10 plus 3. Or 58 minus 39 is 58 minus 40 plus 1. It is so much easier to take away or add quickly in 10s and then add or minus the single digits. Practise this with your child to do this
8. Height chart
Run a height chart at home. Make or buy one. Discuss growth, working out the amount grown and the differences between siblings and parents. Ask relatives and friends to be measured. Great fun!
9. Pocket money
When your child is of an age where you feel they can have (or preferably earn through chores) pocket money, run a points system. Points are gained through the week for good behaviour, special moments of kindness or thoughtfulness, tidying up etc and they are lost for poor behaviour. Each point is worth so many pennies. 5p is a good starting place (this will test your mental maths as they get older – imagine 6p per point!). You can gear the system to arrive at a figure you feel is reasonable for pocket money. You may need to run a chart to remember the score!
10. Maths for parents
Many schools and colleges offer various free 'maths for parents' courses. Get involved! This is a great way to understand how and what your child is learning. It's not the same as it was back in our day!
More resources on helping families with maths at the Zoobookoo website