Fun maths at home
There are loads of ways to do maths at home and enjoy it. One of these is by playing Number Rumbler, the game which we developed with families and crowdfunded in 2015. You can find out more about it on our ‘About Number Rumbler‘ page and buy it online on Amazon. Read a parent’s review of the maths game from Kids in Museums.
And there’s our list of games that are also maths, because many people just don’t notice the fun they are having with maths already.
Some activities you do at home anyway are maths: baking a cake involves measuring and shape. Measuring children’s height as they grow is also fun. Singing ‘Ten green bottles’ is maths. There is counting and pattern-forming in knitting. The ancient Japanese art of origami is mathematical. Practising these things can support the maths that’s taught in school. National Numeracy have put together a Family Maths Toolkit which is full of ideas – it’s worth taking a look.
We can also recommend other people’s products – like Polydron, which is a colourful shape-based construction kit, or Wooden Books geometrical colouring pages (you can see what we did with that colouring challenge here). We recommend Rob Eastaway’s book, Maths for Mums and Dads, or for a more academic study of how children learn maths, try Jo Boaler’s The Elephant in the Classroom. Oh, and on Twitter, try searching for
There are a few principles we use at our maths events which may help you have more fun with maths at home.
- Be positive. Everyone has the potential to understand and enjoy maths. ‘Inherited negative attitudes’ to the subject – ie children picking up on their parents’ own low confidence or dislike of maths – is one of the UK’s problems, but you don’t have to have it in your own family.
- Spot the maths. Often, once we’ve understood a piece of maths, it becomes ‘common sense’. For example, it may be obvious to you that three cats need three cat baskets, one each. But there are two fundamental concepts in there: ‘three’ and ‘same’. Being aware that it was something you had to learn once helps.
- Being wrong, or being stuck, is part of doing maths. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it can be the start of an interesting conversation. How did you get to that answer? What does that question really mean? What strategies have you got to deal with that ‘stuck’ feeling? Learning to persist is an important maths skill.
And finally: tell us what more you’d like. What maths, in particular, are you and your child finding difficult? Would you like… a Times Tables Songbook? A Fridge Magnet Pattern Challenge? Drinking-Straw Construction Kits? Let us know in the form below. We’re more likely to develop something new if we know that parents and children want it.