Wednesday, 3 June 2020

LIFESTYLE // 5 Activities To Help Your Children With Numbers, Sums and Multiplication

Some easy ideas to help your children enjoy learning numbers and working through sums.

I have been sharing our homeschooling journey a lot on my Instagram but I thought I would share a few things that have worked with our kids on here. More than anything these are just some really easy ideas to help reinforce your children's knowledge of number and to help their speed with mental arithmetic skills.
Our daily focus has been times tables. All of these ideas were born out of finding ways to want to learn our times tables and keep the information in there. I have really focused on times tables because they really are gateway knowledge to helping with so many other mathematical areas. It also speeds up basic sums. All of these ideas work for sums too, addition and subtraction can easily be put in place of the x and all of a sudden you will find that you are encouraging 3 main areas of mathematical knowledge in primary school children in a really fun way.

So each day we start with times table app games, at the beginning we were focusing on single tables but after 8 weeks we are finding that Raph always works on mixed knowing all his times table facts (he just needs to remember them all) and Etta is at a stage where even though she hasn't done the 7s, 9s or 12s, most other timetables answer most of the sums in those groups. I love it that it has got to the stage where she can work most of them out.

Anyway, once we have done an app game; personally I would suggest MATHS SHED (super straight forward and you can work on all 4 types of equation x,+,-,/) it also is very child friendly and pre-schoolers could use it. Then we go onto paper and have been using TWINKLE website to print off all our maths worksheets. They are clear, easy to use, need very little adult input and are just there and available (you do need an account though but its the best £7.99 I have spent). Once we have done them which would usually take up about 20 mins. of our lesson time we then go onto something physical and that is what I really want to share with you.

Games to help children improve the number equations

Roll The Dice

This was one of our first methods to make maths more fun. Both children love it and it can be a completely independent task. Great for parents who have work to do whilst at home.
So at basic level simply roll two dice together and you can add, subtract or multiply the numbers. Kids can shout the answers out loud or like mine, write a number sentence in a book. e.g. 5+3=8. You can then introduce more dice, 2, 3, 4 digit numbers. Depending on where your child is at make it as hard or as easy as possible. When it gets to a stage when you are adding two two-digit numbers together get children to start writing it out in column method. Just remember with subtraction, the biggest number always has to go on top in a column method sum.

What the dice are doing is being a basic random number generator. The throwing is what makes it fun and would engage children to actually have a go. At basic level too, the dots are all there to count so even young ones can do single digits and just count the dots.

Pick A Card

Most other ideas followed on from the dice, I have come up with ways to make random number generated questions for the kids, it is that simple but still worth sharing.
For 'pick a card' I simply held the deck (remove all royalty for the deck) and offered them to the kids to pick two cards. It was then put into a number sum with a +,- or x equation.
This is particularly good for quick times tables practice, two cards multiplied together with an answer shouted or written down in a number sentence. 
They are also great for adding or subtracting as like the dice you can start at a basic level and use the dots to help or you can lay out 2, 3, 4 digit numbers in a column method for a child to work out.
* At this point if you are not sure what column method is look here; mainly used in KS2.
We have also developed this game with regards to our times table where the children now play it together, drawing a card each from their own pile and multiplying the two together to get the answer quickest.
With a deck of cards there are also numerous ways to support maths knowledge. just playing card games like pontoon (21), speed, and snap or how about your own version of 'Play Your Cards Right' and look at numbers that are higher or lower than each other.


I think these might be the kids' favourite right now usually because our sums are followed by a game. We use these very specifically for times tables. All the dominoes are in a bag and the kids pick one out and times the two numbers together. It is really easy and quick and they usually race against each other to answer the most. Our kids always write down a number sentence but this is not necessary.
Our dominoes have number 1- 6 on them but I do have a set from the game Mexican Train which has up to 12 dots per side. This will work even better to solidify knowledge on those big number times tables.
Playing a round of dominoes is already a great number recognition game and those dots are great for counting with young ones!
Our dominoes are by JOHN LEWIS

Baby Number Blocks

So you know those wooden baby block toys with letters on? Well you can get them with numbers on and even though I have no babies, re-buying a set was such a good choice. Like all of these little games the actual holding of an object is what makes the kids want to do sums. We have used number blocks in the same way as dice and cards. They are a number generator which can then be used in a range of sums. What is amazing about the wooden blocks is that you can stack them so for kids who do most sums in column form they can set out a sum physically. These are also great for developing place value knowledge, (FYI, units are now called ones!) It seems that even though these feel like they are for babies, recognising number and using them to generate numbers will suit any age of child.
Our Blocks are by Ohh Noo

Throwing Games

You really can make a number game out of anything! I have been using an old Quoits set which I have stuck numbers on in relation to times tables. If a hoop lands on it the kids have got to real off the whole times table and then they get that many points. It really is a make your own rules kinda game but I thought I would share a few other ideas that would get kids in the garden adding up numbers.
Ball in the bucket: get as many tubs as you can and number them up. You could throw balls into them and add them up as you go. 
Pebble grab: you could work out sums by grabbing pebbles or stones, you can count them up, take them away, stones are great for physical maths.
If you have hoops, trampolines, skipping ropes, rackets, most outdoor equipment can be manipulated into something maths based so even if you are just practising number bonds to 10, get physical as it is an easy way to engage children in learning.

I wanted to share these ideas because at this time I feel it's what I can offer in regards to talking about home schooling. Home schooling is such a personal choice and we all teach our children differently, but hopefully these little ideas can inspire you to play a bit more with the kids instead of worrying about teaching to school standard. All I know is that this all needs to be enjoyable, achievable and help children keep in some kind of routine of solving number puzzles.



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