Maths revision for parents

by Caroline Gee. Show your child how exciting and useful numbers and counting can be.

Woman with girl arranging number toys

Introduction

Maths comes into almost every area of our lives - from looking at the number on a house or sorting socks into pairs, to splitting the cost of a meal in a restaurant or working out the best mortgage or mobile phone deal.

We can harness the curiosity children have for the world around them, and show them how exciting and useful numbers and counting can be.

How CBeebies can help

Have some number fun with the Numberjacks! These numerical superheroes love nothing better than to solve mathematical problems. There are lots of fun games for you and your child to try. Can you match the pictures on the Shape Japer Dominoes, connect the Numberjacks with real-life numbers in the Jumping Generator or solve the tricky maths problems on the Numberjacks Photo Match Game?

After all that hard work, you could always check how good your number recognition is by baking some delicious Numberjacks biscuits. Count how many yummy biscuits you have made, then talk about the concept of subtraction as each biscuit is eaten!

How to make a magic moment

Next time you go for a walk with your child, don't go on a 'normal' walk, go on a 'number' walk! You could try to spot as many numbers as you can (bus numbers, house numbers, registration plates) and look for different shapes too (e.g. see how many rectangles you can spot).

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Expert opinion

Children should be given opportunities to practise and talk about what they are learning and what they understand. These chats will help boost your child's confidence, which in turn will help them to tackle questions and work out the answers to things. It is important to make children's mathematical experiences fun and meaningful.

Sir Peter Williams, Author of the Independent Review of Maths Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools 2008

Top tips

  • So many adults report how bad they are at maths or how hard they found it at school. Children pick up on our opinions. Show them instead that maths can be fun and empowering!Young children learn best through play and maths is a brilliant subject to share with them on a daily basis. Play board games with dice, involve them with weighing out ingredients when you cook, get them to count out the cutlery as they lay the table. As long as the activities are real and meaningful they will have an impact.Use the language of maths from an early stage. Introduce 'more' and 'less' when comparing quantities; start to use words such as 'add', 'take away', 'altogether'. Children are not afraid of new words - they absorb all this information like sponges!Number lines are a brilliant visual aid for counting. They can help your child recognise the sequence and formation of numbers, locate a starting number and count forwards and backwards.Encourage your child to use their growing understanding of number to solve simple problems such as how many biscuits will be left on the plate if you both eat one. Once children start applying their knowledge they can really see the value of maths.

Parent's tale

Maths is not my strong point! And I could see my fear was rubbing off on my little one. So I made time after work or at the weekend to sit down for five mintues and hide numbers in the room and play a finding game. We count to 10, then 20, then 30. It turned around quickly and numbers are now a fun game in our house!

Rachel, Belfast

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