Learning at home: five maths games for parents and children to enjoy together

With schools across the world closed in the wake of COVID-19, many parents are now supporting their children’s at-home learning. Here, Eleanor Dix, maths and parental engagement specialist at Pearson, outlines five simple maths games that are not only fun, but will improve numeracy skills...

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With schools across the world closed in the wake of COVID-19, many parents are now supporting their children’s at-home learning. Here, Eleanor Dix, maths and parental engagement specialist at Pearson, outlines five simple maths games that are not only fun, but will improve numeracy skills too.

As we all grapple with the implications of COVID-19 on daily life and education, it can be tempting to provide parents with reams of home learning work to help continue young children’s learning beyond the classroom. But, when it comes to maths, is this the best approach?

According to a report from the Open University, one in five parents with children aged 6-16 completely avoid their children’s maths homework because they’re scared of numeracy (1). For the many parents and carers who lack confidence in maths or suffer from maths anxiety, maths homework can cause stress and have long-lasting consequences for both parent and child alike.

At what is already a stressful and uncertain time, we want children and families to experience the wonder and fun in maths, not stress or anxiety. So, whether it’s creating a toy shop to recognise amounts of money or becoming a ‘Tally champion’, here are five simple maths games for children aged 6+ that can be enjoyed by families at home – and can help improve young learners’ numerical confidence and skills.

1. Toy shop

The objective: To recognise amounts of money and find the correct coins to make those amounts through your own home toy shop!

4. More or less

The objective: To estimate the size and capacity of various containers in a fast and fun guessing game.

What you need: You will need a measuring jug marked with a scale in millilitres (ml). Any 1–2 litre jug is fine. You’ll also need five containers of various sizes. You can use any container smaller than the jug: egg cups, mugs and glasses, bowls, small vases, water bottles, empty juice cartons. It would also be good to have a bucket handy for the used water, so that it can be used again.

 

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