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Supporting Maths at Home for Younger Pupils

Younger children will likely benefit from activities, games, and discussion with parents. Working with younger children at home, it is important not to see mathematics as a separate or standalone activity but rather as something which can be incorporated into everyday activities, games, stories, and conversations.


Here are some ways that we can support parents to celebrate Maths as part of their day:

  • Board games, particularly ones with linear, numbered, equal-sized spaces can be useful for the development of early number skills. Most families will have ​‘Snakes and Ladders’ or something similar; if not, this is a great opportunity to make your own!
  • Incorporate mathematics into everyday routines and activities: tidying up and meal times in particular provide opportunities for conversations about counting, comparing, time, and sharing.
  • Snack times and meals are a great opportunity to learn mathematics, such as counting, estimating and comparing. For example, with young children, you could count and match items in a ​‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic.’ You can compare quantities such as more or less or quantify food items (making sure to link the last number counted to the number of items in the set) or discuss the capacity of different cups or jugs. A parent or puppet can make deliberate errors in counting and sharing, with the child encouraged to identify these mistakes.
  • Use mathematical vocabulary where possible as part of conversations and play: for example, when making comparisons (which is bigger? which teddy is first in line? who has more? are they shared fairly?). Opportunities can also be taken for ​‘shape-spotting’ and sorting around the home.
  • Finding the mathematics in story books can bring the maths to life. Websites like www.mathsthroughstories.org contain links to mathematics in stories, but you can also consider opportunities in more common story books for mathematical discussion.
  • Use manipulatives (objects) to support learning. For example, building bricks could be used to model simple addition and multiplication, or toys used to make comparisons of size or quantity. Measuring items, scales, construction materials, puzzles, sorting and pattern materials are also great sources for discussion!