When it comes to helping children with maths the biggest obstacle is often that parents are not sure of what to do or how to do it. Maths Week Ireland have today issued a number of simple tips for parents about how they can best support their children with maths at home.
“The reality is that you don’t have to have recently studied maths to help your child; your attitude to maths can be one of biggest influences on your child’s perception of maths. Do NOT let them hear you say ‘I can’t do maths’ or ‘I was never any good at maths in school’. Maths is not a gene and your child can do well! Parents need to use everyday opportunities to highlight how maths is all around us and get children thinking mathematically”, commented Maths Week Ireland Founder, Eoin Gill.
Looking at the five strands of the maths curriculum - numbers, algebra, shape and space, measures and data, there are a number of top tips for helping your child with their maths…
- How many toys are on the shelf? Estimate and then count them. This can be done with books, spoons, socks, anything in your house!
- Make it more or less challenging by increasing or decreasing items to be counted, subtracted, multiplied or divided.
- Use counting rhymes and stories – ‘one, two buckle my shoe’ or ‘Ten green bottles’
- Solve everyday problems – how many pillowcases do I need for your bed? / Granny and Grandad are coming for dinner, how many places will I set at the table?
- Line up cereal boxes, cups, tins and jars from the store cupboard and put them in order of largest to smallest
- At the table look at the surface area of plates to see which is larger; which one do they want for dinner? Why?
- Estimate and then count the number of steps to bed at night. Do you think the number will increase or decrease if I take bigger/smaller steps tomorrow night?
- Get baking and learn about the quantities of each ingredient – are they aware of both metric and imperial units?
- Estimate how much milk the family will need for the week
Shape and Space
- Play I spy in the car and give clues that reference shape and size of road signs, houses, buildings, trees, etc.
- Give directions for everyday tasks e.g. look for the book – is it under, over, on top of, behind something. Make sure they answer you using the correct vocabulary.
- Look and point out patterns in paving, tiles, clothing, wallpaper. What is pattern – how would you describe it?
- Create physical patterns – clap, clap, stomp, stomp, what will come next?
- Get the Lego box out and make patterns, asking children to continue it.
- Ask them to categorise their belongings, for example, electronic toys/building toys/soft toys/books, etc.… Why did you categorise them that way?
- Divide toys by colour, size, shape, texture.
- Create a calendar to keep track of the weather/temperature each day, gathering the results at the end of a week or month
Maths week runs nationwide until Sunday, October 23 with world renowned and locally acclaimed mathematicians entertaining people of all ages with the wonder of maths over the week through fun and interesting talks, games, teasers, challenges and magic maths shows. Make sure you find out what’s going on in your area during the week by visiting www.mathsweek.ie or follow @mathsweek on Twitter.