Maths can be a challenging subject for many children, but it’s a necessary skill for everyday life. Becoming comfortable with maths at a young age and developing problem-solving skills builds a great foundation for adult independence.
While your child will be learning maths at school, there’s no harm in continuing their learning at home – and tackling tricky topics in a ‘safe’ environment can really help if your child is struggling in the classroom. Read on for our five ways to help your child with maths and show them the value of their skills in real-life scenarios.
For lots of everyday mental calculations, the ability to multiply numbers quickly is key – and it will also form the basis of more complicated questions in your child’s school assessments.
Help your child master their times tables with a multiplication grid. Once the grid is complete, put it up at home where your child will see it frequently. After a while, they may even be able to tell you the result of 6 x 7 or 11 x 9 by memory.
Keep your child’s mental ability sharp by testing them on their times tables in short, regular bursts. Make the most of times when they can’t do anything else - such as walking to school or sitting in the car - with quick times table quizzes.
The food shop is generally not top of the list for ‘fun activities to do with your child’, but it can certainly help your child’s maths skills – especially arithmetic (a key component of Key Stage 2 maths SATs and 11 plus entrance exams).
Try asking your child to mentally calculate the running cost of the items as you go, then when you reach the checkout ask them to work out how much change they should expect if you’re paying in cash.
Check their multiplication skills by calculating how much it would cost to purchase multiple items priced individually - for example, the cost of five apples priced 19p each.
Tick off comparison skills by asking your child to compare the costs of different brands by looking at the size of the item (e.g. 500g compared to 400g) and deciding which one is better value for money. Look out for multi-buy savings and discount deals too; ask your child to use their knowledge of percentages to see if they can work out which deal will help you save more.
Once you’re home from your trip calculating maths at the supermarket, why not simultaneously reward and educate your child by baking a cake together?
Baking and cooking incorporate measuring solids and liquids through grams, millilitres and other units. As part of the maths Key Stage 2 national curriculum, it is expected that pupils will be able to estimate, measure and read scales; convert between metric and imperial units; and calculate perimeter, area and volume.
Try asking your child to weigh the ingredients and convert them from metric to imperial units or vice versa. If you’re measuring a liquid, ask them to calculate the volume of the jug. Who would have thought that helping your child with maths could be so tastefully rewarding?
Make learning maths at home a fun activity by playing board games together. Monopoly (recommended for ages 8 and above) requires mental maths skills such as counting money and calculating deals, while Battleships (recommended for ages 7 and above) can help your child get their head around graphs, coordinates and quadrants.
Meanwhile, chess has been proven to enhance children’s mathematical abilities (as well as logic and reasoning skills). In 2015, a study of 580 children aged 8-11 showed a strong correlation between chess and maths skills; of the children studied, those receiving chess lessons showed a higher improvement in their mathematical problem-solving skills than those who were not playing chess. Certain actions involved in playing chess, such as identifying patterns, understanding the geometry of the board and performing basic arithmetic, may help your child’s maths skills.
Completing quizzes together can be extremely rewarding for children and can help boost self-esteem and confidence - not to mention that they’re fun to complete!
Help your child consolidate their maths skills with our free maths quiz:
Atom Learning can help your child with maths for just £29.99 per month. Our technology personalises learning with a motivational interface and reward system to help keep your child engaged and motivated. We have best-in-class content, created by teachers and aligned to the Key Stage 2 national curriculum.
Start your 5 day free trial today and see how Atom can help your child with maths from the get-go.
For more tips on helping your child with maths at home, check out Atom’s recent webinar ‘Supporting your child’s multi-step problem-solving skills’:
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