Having fun with maths at home is something parents can easily incorporate into everyday life and make learning fun for their children.
Parents are children’s first teachers. They will teach them many lessons and life skills before they start school. Many parents will also provide their children with a print-enriched environment, reading to them each night to develop a love of reading and writing. But it’s much harder to include maths into everyday activities, right? Wrong! It is incredible how much fun you can have incorporating maths into your daily routines and activities, and here’s how.
Bath fun and water play:
Bath time can be an excellent time for exploring and learning. You can encourage learning about measurement by filling and emptying containers and watching them float or sink. What happens when they add things to the container? Have containers of different sizes. Which one is bigger? Can they put them into size order? Counting toys or blocks as they splash into the water can also be lots of fun. You don’t have to restrict it to just bath time either. When the weather is warmer, set up a shallow tub with water, various containers, utensils and other objects to play and experiment with.
Setting the table:
Dinner time can be a challenging time of the evening. The kids (and probably yourself) are tired. Why not get them involved and ask them to help set the table and dish up dinner? In completing this, children need to count out the cutlery and dinnerware and place it in the right spot. They will also have to share the food equally – all teaching maths skills.
Shopping and cooking
Shopping and cooking are great activities to incorporate maths for children. Children can help count out fruit and vegetables, learn about weights and use money in the shops. Talk to them as you go to help them understand, e.g. “we need four bananas,” “we need half a kilo of mince”, “we need two litres of milk” “that costs two dollars, which coins do we need?” Explain the measurements and quantities as you go to help their understanding. Encourage them to try and find the right amount first, then help them if they need it.
When you are cooking, encourage children to help. They can measure ingredients or chop vegetables (with a child-safe knife). This activity is also great for building their fine motor skills.
Incorporating maths outside is great fun. Children need to move, explore, jump, shake and love the outdoors. Try counting how many times they can hop on one leg, how many bean bags they can throw into a tub, what colour leaves they can find, or how far can they throw. Counting pegs to help hang out the washing (they can wash some small items or their toys or clothes and hang them out, which will help teach them about procedures). If you have some chalk, you might be able to draw out hopscotch. Targets drawn with chalk on a fence or wall are a great activity. Add some numbers and spray the numbers with a spray bottle filled with water. Spraying numbers is a great activity to help with number recognition and fine motor skills.
Hide and seek:
Playing hide and seek will encourage your child to attempt to count in order when they are seeking or listen to you count when hiding. You could also hide their toys and ask them to find them giving clues such as it’s “on top”, “under”, “on”, or “in-between” – this is a great way to expose children to the language needed to talk about maths and mathematical concepts.
Sorting toys and objects:
It doesn’t matter if your child enjoys playing with cars, dolls, rocks, teddy bears, dinosaurs or blocks. Children can sort them by size, colour or shape. You could demonstrate this a few times and then let them explore and discover the different ways the children can sort them. Sorting also happens naturally throughout the day, such as sorting the washing into colours, sorting the rubbish and recyclables, or sorting the coloured markers when putting them away.
Once you start looking, you will realise that maths is everywhere! Having fun with maths at home can be easy, and you may discover that you have already been doing many of these activities. Parents can play a critical role in developing children’s confidence regarding their maths ability. By having math conversations about everyday experiences, children will learn that they can understand, use and explore maths concepts. It helps to build their confidence and encourages a lifelong love of learning.
Begin Bright programmes incorporate hands-on games and activities that make learning fun! Children become confident by participating in our programmes and grow to love learning with lifelong benefits. Find out more about our programmes and how they can help your child be a happy, smart and confident learner.