If your child started school this term, or moved up from Reception to Year 1, you might be wondering how you can help support their learning with activities at home.
This week, I'm looking at numeracy, and sharing some ideas to get you started.
Counting tools offer a great break from pen and paper, and they're particularly good for very visual/action-based learners.
- We've found Base ten block sets to be superb for helping visualise number relationships.
- You might think an abacus is a toy more targeted at babies as they develop early motor skills, but in fact an abacus offers a brilliant way to understand the relationship between units, tens, hundreds that will form the bedrock for children's understanding of long division and other more advanced maths skills.
- Counting sticks can be used to tally a count as you go along, to practice colour sorting, to measure the length of objects in units. Of course, you can also get out the glue and make art with them too!
Numeracy games, songs, poems and finger rhymes
I'm a big fan of learning through play, and many people (adults and children) simply learn better by getting hands on, up on their feet, or singing at the top of their voice.
- Pick up a book/CD of mathematically themed songs - not only is singing a great break from the relative silence of the classroom, it's also fun the whole family can join in with and the repetitive nature of the music will mean more stays with them than they might expect.
- Playing with dominoes is great fun and offers a chance to practice counting and matching skills. You can build structures, too, and count how many pieces are needed for each side.
- Emma at My Little 3 and Me has a superb idea for an activity using photocopies on hands to practice counting and times tables, spread out on the floor.
Posters and wall charts
Active learning is great, but we've also found that having numeracy resources on the wall can help our kids become familiar with early numeracy concepts semi-passively. It's also super-handy to have charts to look at for on-the-hop learning games.
- You can buy large laminated posters for around £2-£8 to support almost any topic, from Times Tables to 2D and 3D Shapes.
- Activity Village has a good selection of free printable number charts.
- Reward charts can help encourage learning of early life skills such as making the bed, but also double as opportunities for numeracy practice
With opportunities to talk measures and timings as you prepare dinner, cooking together is a great way to support early numeracy.
- Digital cooking timers can help cement counting skills and facilitate conversations about telling time, while kitchen scales and measuring jugs support an understanding of weights and volumes
- Cathy at Nurture Store has a lovely idea for a fractions tea party.
- I've also put together a whole eBay Collection of great tools for getting kids involved in the kitchen.
Out and about
It's lovely to get out into nature, whether that's popping to the local park after school or taking a weekend walk through a local forest. Wherever you are, there are plenty of chances to practice numeracy skills.
- How about using your phone to time how many times you can kick a football against the wall in 1 minute, and then calculating how many that would be if you continued at the same pace for five minutes.
- Popping a child-friendly magnifying glass in your handbag can offer a great opportunity to go minibeast counting wherever you are.
- Maggy over at Red Ted Art has a lovely idea for using stones, shells and pinecones to play simple sorting and counting games, wherever you are.
I hope that's inspired you to start finding ways to support your children's numeracy skills at home. What ideas would you add?
This is a commissioned post for eBay.co.uk