Sunday, 15 April 2012

10 Ideas to Make Maths Fun

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I'll tell you now, maths is my weakspot - I am truly dreading the day that Vinnie comes home with some algebra homework and asks for help. Right now though, I can just about cope with introducing preschool maths concepts to him and I thought I'd share some ways to make maths fun and relevant for your kiddos too...

Maths Preschool Activities
Cutting up Fractions
1. Cutting up fractions - I remember someone in a math class trying to explain the concept of fractions as slices of pie and thinking to myself 'this would be much easier if they actually brought out some pies'. With this idea it plays on kiddo's appetite for destruction (seriously, are there any kids that *don't* like scissors?) but also gives them a hands on experience to ground the learning. I do this sometimes with food too - Babybels and round biscuits are easier enough to cut in half and explain the concept.

Early Years Maths Activities
Maths with Lego
2. Playing with Legos - There are lots of ways Legos can be used mathematically - couting, colour sorting, shape recongition, patterning, 2d and 3d shapes, area. Check out this fun idea to measure with Lego from Nurturestore

Lego Maths for Preschool
Introducing 3d with Legos
Making Maths fun and relevant for Preschoolers
Thomas the Tank Addition & Subtraction
3. Thomas Addition - This one is probably better for slightly older kids, but was inspired by my friend's son who knows all the names and numbers of all the Thomas the Tank characters by heart (so does his poor mum now too!) If you're looking for a more generic idea, you could use numbered train carriages or toy cars in the same way.

Preschool Maths Fun
Measuring Sticks
4. Measuring Sticks - if your kiddo is anything like mine, every trip out of the house sees us returning with a collection of sticks! Here I used white paint to make a simple measuring stick to start to introduce the concept of bigger and smaller etc. You could also crack out the heavy duty tools and practise measuring with a tape measure.

Dinosaurs and Numeracy Skills for Early Years
Dinosaur Maths

Early Years Maths Activities
Counting with Cars
5. Counting practise - Probably the first 'maths' you do with your kiddo, but probably don't even realise you're doing it! Counting objects (rather than just counting aloud) will make their learning more relevant and fun for them.

Dinosaur Maths for Early Years
Dinosaur Sequencing
6. Sequencing - Introducing concepts such as larger than and smaller than, putting things in size order is another pre-maths skill. And noticing the different characteristics of objects that belong in the same family is a useful visual learning tool.

Preschool Numeracy with Water and Sensory Play
Maths concepts with Sensory Play
7. Water and Sensory Play - You might not even realise the maths skills and learning opportunities involved in pouring water between two bowls, scooping beans in a sensory tub or mixing two ingredients together. Kids learn about volume and capacity, weights and measures as well as all the important sensory development. Cooking with kids is an ideal way to work all these skills and more - check out this post I wrote on the benefits of cooking with kids.

Shape Recognition for Preschoolers
Shape Recognition Robot
8. Shapes - This little robot was part of a shape recognition game with Vinnie, then we worked on making pictures with the shapes. As well as naming them, shape play enforces spatial awareness and basic geometry skills (for example two squares together make a rectangle etc)

Early Years Numeracy Skills
Playing with Shapes

Numeracy and Maths Skills for Preschoolers
Weighing Toys and Household Objects
9. Weighing - Here we use my digital kitchen scales, to help with number recognition, but a set of balance scales will reinforce the concepts of more/ heavier than and less/lighter than. Weigh toys and familiar objects, then add or take away some of them to further the learning.

Preschool Maths Ideas
Army Man Sorting
10. Classification & Sorting - Grouping things into categories based on their distiguishing characteristics is another important pre-maths skill and one your child might do without you even introducing them to. Kids like to label and sort things to make sense of them, but don't underestimate the learning and development that is taking place during their playtimes!

Early Years Maths Ideas
Army Soldier Classification

Hope you find some inspiration here friends. How do you practise maths in your home?


  1. Favourite of ours is reading the numbers on buses, also getting quite good at recognising the first letter and guessing its destination. I fear I am raising a 'bus spotter!!' Going to have a go at the stick one, always have a collection of sticks. Great ideas Charlotte :-) x

  2. Wow - Loving this post! I have been trying to get the concept of fractions into my Gr2'rs head and it seems not to stick. Going to try some of these tomorrow! Thanks!!

    Found you from Pinterest.
    Lisa Marie from


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