Fun maths at home

Fun maths at home

Games to play

  1. Make your own Toast Tangram puzzle, and then make giraffes, cats or whatever you want. It’s playing with your food, but it’s also definitely mathematical
  2. Play some Times Tables games. All you need to do is download and print the PDF, and find some dice
  3. Make your own Little Robot – Little Robot is made from 24 cardboard polygons. When you make Little Robot you’re seeing how flat shapes come together to make 3D shapes – a maths skill

For even more games take a look at our Monthly Maths Takeaways page

‘How to…’ films to watch  

Take a look at 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.

Five Golden Rules for enjoying maths at home

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 maths 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
  • Wooden Books geometrical colouring pages (you can see what we did with that colouring challenge here).
  • Rob Eastaway’s book, Maths for Mums and Dads, or
  • Jo Boaler’s The Elephant in the Classroom.
  • Search for (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? 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.