Math Activities

Numeracy Activities 
There are lots of websites which offer ideas for educational games for younger ones, below we have included some of our favourites. We have outlined suggested ways to play, but you know your child best and perhaps can think of a better way to engage them. Most of these activities can be made more challenging for older children, or simplified for younger ones. Please remember that the value in education is in the learning not in the written work produced. To this end a lot of the activities we are suggesting can be done without written work being produced, there is a lot of educational value in discussion and it is a scientific fact that children learn through play.
Www.readingeggs.com has an excellent math area called Mathseed. They are currently offering a 30 day free trial and have excellent books , activities and videos for children aged 2 – 13. – Children can access the site wither via the Reading Eggs app on tablet or iPad or on a computer. For the little ones we recommend using a tablet as the need for mouse control on the PC can hinder enjoyment and progress.
  • Snack Tuck Shop
We saw this online and loved the idea. Make a tuck shop list of snacks you have in the house that your child is allowed to eat. Each morning give you child £1. Throughout the course of the day the children can use their pound to buy snacks. Have a box of change so that they can calculate change etc. We love this idea because not only does it help them with their money skills, but it also helps control the endless requests for snacks from bored children lol
  • 2D Shape Hunt!

Go on a shape hunt around the house. You can start with looking for things around the house that are square. They can take photos of these, or if they can be physically moved, they can collect them and then sort them.  Language is key here; ask questions such as: What other shapes can you find? Which triangle is bigger? Can we put all the circles in order from smallest to largest? etc etc.

Extend this by going on a 3D shape hunt. Discuss 3D shapes. Encourage children to name the shapes they have found. Sphere, cube, cuboid, cone, pyramid, cylinder. Can they sort the shapes?

Wooden blocks games are excellent for this type of activity and you can set challenges like asking children to copy a tower you have built.

  • Playdough numbers

Using playdough, have your child make the numbers 1 – 10, if your child is able to do more they could try and write playdough sums; E.G: 3 + 1 = 4.

  • Pegs, pegs, pegs!

Pegs are a great learning tool, they can be used as counters, they can be used to order numbers and they can be used to hang things on a line which is great for exercising our fine motor skills. One of the great ways you can use this is by writing numbers 1-10 on the bottom of a blank page, then placing a number of items on the blank part of the page (10 or less) and have your child count the objects and place the clip on the corresponding number below.

Another way to use pegs is to write a number on the peg with a sharpie or permanent marker and have children match the pegs to number cards or piles of objects etc.

  • I can see!

Looking outside a window count different objects , E.G: I can see 4 cars. I can see 5 trees etc

  • I spy out of the window

Play I spy, looking out of the window. With younger children it is helpful to use colours instead of initial letter sounds, E.G: I spy with my little eye, something that is red. When giving clues, encourage the use of positional language. E.G: There is a bird ON the fence. The car is BESIDE the garage.

  • Colour sorting

Collect a number of objects and ask the child to group them by colours (duplo / lego blocks are excellent for this type of activity, but any type of object will do). Once objects have been sorted, encourage counting them. Giving one number name to each object. Challenge further by asking: What is one / two more? What is one / two less? Older children could try and demonstrate number sums E.G: 2 red blocks + 3 red blocks = 5 red blocks. You can also ask questions like are there more yellow or more red blocks? Older children can group blocks in groups of 2, or 5 or 10 and then count them.

  • How many in 30 seconds?

Talk about how long 30 seconds is. Ask your child to do a number of different activities for 30 seconds (E.G:  Did it feel like a long time? Can you count your own jumps? How many do you think you can do in a minute?

  • Days of the week

Tell children what day of the week it is. Ask them what day will be tomorrow and which one was yesterday. Ask them questions such as which day of the week was two days ago or in three days time. Work with your child to create flashcards of the different days of the week. Use these to help them order the days of the week. Use a calendar to show children the passing of time and encourage them to cross off the days as they pass.

  • Make a pattern

Use different objects to create a pattern. Children may want to print their objects on paper with paint, or create a row of objects on a table. Describe the pattern. 

  • Find different jugs and cups. Use these to make different potions

Encourage children to compare the sizes of different jugs and cups. Ask children to describe the capacity of each jug, using language such as full, half full and empty. – To make this more visually attractive, you can use food colouring, glitter, jewels etc. Can you write instructions for your potion recipe? How much of each item did you use? Can you think of a special name for it?

  • Go on a number hunt. How many numbers can you find?

Children explore the house and record the different numbers they can see. Encourage the children to compare, order or sort the different numbers.

  • Find different packets of food. Which one is the heaviest?

Children are to find full packets of food and read the weight measurement displayed. Compare the weight using language such as heavier, lighter, less and more. Can they put them in order of weight? This can be made into a fun game if you blindfold them and ask them to decide which is heavier. Does taking away one sense change their perception?

  • Find pairs of items in your house

Encourage children to find different pairs of objects. Discuss what the word ‘pair’ means. Children count the pairs in 2s to find the total. You can then use the items to make visual number sentences. (E.G: 6 shoes take away 2 shoes = 4 shoes) Invite them to create number sentences for you, which you then answer.

  • Height Order

Ask you child to choose 5 of their favourite toys. Line the up in height order. Encourage children to use language to compare the height, e.g. taller than, shorter than. Toys can be ordered from shortest to tallest or tallest to shortest. Then ask them to find a toy which would fit in between two of the toys already on the line. Discuss their thought process as they complete this task.

  • Roll a dice. Show the number in different ways

Children roll a die to generate a number. Encourage children to find different objects around the house to represent the number, e.g. 4 spoons, 4 shoes, 4 buttons.

Use the dice to come up with number sentences – addition for the younger ones, or multiplication for the older ones. If you have 4 die you can roll two to generate the first and then multiply that by the number generated by the next two.

  • Bake and decorate a cake / biscuits / cupcakes with an adult 

Encourage the use of time related language. For example: first, then next. When tasting, talk about the smell, taste and texture. Can children write the ingredients and the method used to make the cake? Encourage them, where possible to weigh the different ingredients themselves. Discuss the importance of sticking to the recipe when baking. What happens when we stray from this? (If you are feeling particularly brave make this a science experiment and attempt different ‘batches’ with varying amounts of a certain ingredient and see how this affects the texture, composition and taste.) – Some simple recipes are available HERE.

  • Involve them in an online order

Using websites such as Eroski online, give the children a budget from which they have to create a shopping list, to make it more challenging, give them a number of recipes which require similar ingredients and let them work out how much each recipe will cost.

  • Home Restaurant

Invite your child to ‘open’ their own home restaurant, they can think up a name, design their own signage, menus etc. Older children can use the online eroski prices – or look at UK based supermarket websites such as https://www.tesco.com/https://groceries.morrisons.com/ or https://www.asda.com/ to price the items on their menus and decide how much to charge their customers in order to make a profit. – You can make this harder by introducing the concept of having to charge rent / pay waitresses etc (depending on how far you want to take it).

  • Comparison Shopping list

Give children a shopping list (if young the list could only be of 2 or 3 items) and ask them to work out how much it would cost at 3 different shops (Use the supermarkets website for pricing), after they have done this, they could work out which is the most cost effective way of procuring the items (maybe one from each shop etc).

  • Draw a map of the streets around your home.

Discuss any familiar journeys you may make. Discuss and label the human features you may see along the way. For example, shops, libraries or playgrounds. Using directional language (turn, left, right etc), try and describe different familiar journeys to each other and see if the other can guess where the journey leads them.

  • Pattern Making

Collect a number of 3 different items (E.G shoes, tops and plastic cups). Make simple patterns and have your child complete them. Then ask them to create patterns for you. Discuss with children how they can make their patterns more complex using the same number of types of items, e.g. AABBAC, AABBAC (i.e. pear, pear, apple, apple, pear, banana). Patterns can also be created focusing on colours rather than objects. Can you create patterns for the other person to complete?

  • Pasta Place Value  (hundreds, tens and units) 

Draw a place value chart. (H/T/U) Encourage children to put pieces of pasta in each column to create a 2-digit number or 3 digit number. You can write lots of numbers on bits of paper and have the children ‘build’ these numbers using the pasta pieces- In order to make this more visual you could colour the pasta before , so that each colour represents either a hundred a ten or a unit. The best way which I have found to do this is to separate the pasta into three different freezer bags, then add about a tablespoon full of non toxic paint, seal the bag and manipulate the pasta so that the paint covers all of them. Then leave these out to dry in the sun. (Usually takes about a day to dry, this can take longer if there is a strong levante). Children can help prepare this , so that in itself is a fun activity- my daughter calls it ‘rainbow pasta’ – this also works really well with Rice)

  • Countdown
Think of a large number, say 3542, then give the children three 1-digit-numbers and three 2-digit-numbers, they are then able to use the four main operations (+-X /) to get to that number. If they are playing alone you can time them and see if they can beat their time week on week, or if they are playing against someone the first one to get to the number wins.

These ideas have been created and collated by Ian Capurro, Chantal Ritchie & Julia Stych, if you have any ideas which we could add to our list, please let us know! :)