Helping a young child with maths

Along with literacy, maths is an essential subject from Reception class to GCSE. Developing an interest in maths can start quite young, even before a child starts school.

There are many board books and lift-the-flap books which toddlers and young children can enjoy which may involve numbers, whether they are rhyming stories about 10 little ducks or picture books which involve counting skills. There are also plenty of nursery rhymes and songs to share with your child which will help to develop the concept of numbers – “Five currant buns in the baker’s shop” or “One, Two, buckle my shoe”, for instance.

It is really important to make maths fun, so play games with your child and try jigsaw puzzles together. Problem solving is a tricky maths skill to learn and understand and even Key Stage 1 children (under 7 years old) will be expected to develop problem solving skills, so talk to your child about problems and think of ways to solve them together. It may be that they find it difficult to fit all their toys back in the toy box or they want to make something but do not have all the correct materials. How can they solve the problem?

Fun things that you can do with small children may include looking at and recognising numbers on houses or car number plates or spotting different shapes around the house. Collect and count conkers brought back from the park and arrange them in rows or patterns. Count the number of steps up the slide. Take you child shopping and allow them to pick the loose apples or carrots. Let them look at money and maybe spend some too! There are endless ideas out there, but all of these things will help your child to develop essential numeracy skills.