Creating positive memories of doing maths together as a family is an important step in building a confident, can-do attitude towards maths.
Games to play
Visit our Activities & Resources page for fun, creative games and activities involving maths. Make a tangram out of a piece of toast, learn about fractions and ratios using multi-coloured sweets and lots more! Plus keep an eye on our blog for more ideas and tips.
Stay-in Sessions – online family maths
We have been missing our monthly drop-in library events so we thought – why not bring them to you at home with monthly online family maths Stay-in Sessions. This autumn term, join Susan and Niki – our Community and Schools Outreach Co-ordinators – and discover the maths all around us. Our first Stay-in Session is on Saturday 19th September.
Films to watch
Take a look at Maths on Toast Bites, our series of ‘How To’ videos, presented by children aged 8 – 11. Instruction sheets for the activities demonstrated in each film are available to download, so families can try them together at home. They’re also ideal for use in school and community settings.
Summer Saturdays with the Maths Mates
Summer Saturdays with the Maths Mates is a creative maths programme comprising craft, construction, puzzles, maps and games and each activity has a different theme. The series explores a range of mathematical ideas and can be used at any time throughout the year (not just during the summer months!). There are 8 activities to try and you can do them in any order.
Five Golden Rules for enjoying maths at home
- Maths is everywhere. Cooking, shopping, packing things into bags and boxes, planning a journey… even the buildings all around you. The more you look, the more you will see.
- Being wrong is OK. Don’t feel bad about mistakes – they are part of learning. If you, or someone else, gets to the wrong answer, then talk about it. How did you get there? See if you can come up with a better way to work it out.
- Believe in your own ability. Everyone has the potential to understand and enjoy maths. One of the UK’s biggest problems in maths education is children ‘catching’ their parents’ own low confidence in maths. If you don’t feel confident, this is more likely to have come from your life experience than your genes. You have the ability: you’ve just not had the chance to develop it. You probably use maths more than you give yourself credit for. So avoid suggesting that people in your family aren’t good at maths. Your children will believe it, and make it come true.
- Struggling is normal and healthy. If you can’t figure something out straight away, then you’re not alone. In fact, you are sharing an experience with professional mathematicians. It’s their job to get stuck on hard problems – sometimes for years! Some hints for getting unstuck include: Keep trying, try different methods, and try explaining what you don’t understand to someone else.
- Talking about how is interesting. Different people bring different talents to maths – and solve problems in different ways. If you ask someone else how they worked something out, you’ll learn something – even if you were both right.
Are you having fun doing maths already?
Take a look at our list of family games – many people just don’t notice the fun they are having with maths already.
Lots of activities you do at home 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 simple fun things with your children can support the maths that’s taught in school.
Where else can I go for ideas?
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
- Rob Eastaway’s book, Maths for Mums and Dads, or
- Jo Boaler’s The Elephant in the Classroom, or
- Dr Rosemary Russell’s Help Your Child DO Maths Even If You DON’T
- Search for
#tmwyk (Talking Math with your kid(s)) on Twitter
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? We’re more likely to develop something new if we know that parents and children want it. Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org