“Play is an effective vehicle for fostering Mathematical concepts and developing positive attitudes to mathematics... Adults in the pre-school setting should seek to extend informally the mathematical experiences the children have already had in their home environment.” (Curricular Guidance for Pre- school Education)
Maths in the Home
Maths is everywhere in the home. With the support of parents, children can grasp many mathematical concepts through their play.
Here are a few ways in which you can use play to learn mathematical concepts.
Sand and Water
Using sand can develop mathematical concepts and language, e.g. heavy, light, empty, full, big, little
Conservation – how much will it hold
Make shapes and patterns
Provide boxes and materials of different shapes and sizes to compare weight and quantity
Look at the differences between wet and dry as a means of looking at weights
You can help to promote mathematical language such as – heavy, light, empty, full, long, short, big, small in relevant contexts
Look at your home environment to develop language, especially positional words – small object in front of big object, behind, in, on
The use of dough can help to develop a mathematical understanding for pre-school children.
Develops mathematical language – short, long, fat, thin
Make shapes of different dimensions – flat shapes, 3-d shapes
Create opportunities to compare things that float with things that do not
Simple activities like letting your child set the table for dinner can help develop counting skills, e.g. getting out three pieces of cutlery.
Involve your child with household activities. After washing, allow your child to sort clothes into different colours, or different types of clothes, e.g. t-shirts and socks. This will help to develop a child’s knowledge of shapes and colours.
Books and Rhymes
Enjoy stories and rhymes with your child that has a mathematical element, e.g. “One-two, Buckle my Shoe”,
This can also help to develop literacy skills by showing your child that the print reads from left to right.
Let your child count out items in the books – how many animals are on the page, how many items are blue.
Using rhymes can also help develop your Childs awareness of sequencing
Develop fine motor skills through physical activity, e.g. Sorting out a jigsaw, Threading beads
Block play or playing with toy cars can help to develop sequencing by encouraging your child to sequence according to size, colour, use (e.g. bike, car, lorry)
Playing with different sized blocks can help to develop an understanding of weight and dimensions.
Tidying toys away allows children to sort into different sizes and colours.
It can also develop mathematical language – first, second, third, how many are blue, which is largest / smallest.
By planting seeds you can help to develop your child’s understanding of time and the life cycle of plants.
Watch as the plants grow and even measure your plant – develop language such as taller.
Teach your child about the different seasons and plant different items at different times of the year to compare colours, flowers, smells.