“Learning to think a problem through can be hard work
-and that is exactly what makes it fun.” – Denise Gaskins
Maths is a life skill, it is important for independence. Without a grasp on basic maths, things such as buying food, paying bills, managing wages and finances would make life very difficult as we get older. But this seems millions of years away for young children, who are just starting to gain initial maths skills.
With this in mind, instead of trying to explain all the above, we should try to inspire a real love of maths at an early stage. If we attempt to give children the tools to be successful and not fear maths, they really can begin to enjoy it and actually be inspired to learn more.
The following tips are strategies I have used in early maths, with both children with special educational needs and children in EYFS and KS1, whilst in their initial stages of building up maths knowledge and concepts.
Relate maths to things of interest and real life situations
Like any subject, if it is too dry and dull, children don’t feel enthused enough to want to have a go. By tuning in to a child’s interests very early on, they will be tempted to try and actually be engaged in their learning. Making learning real and hands on is key to promoting a real love of learning, even in maths.
When teaching children about numerals in those early stages, a good way to start is to match numeral to numeral. Discussing the numerals, looking at the shapes and tracing them with fingers or making the shapes of numerals in sand, foam or even water. But just matching up numbers is not exciting! Unless we do this by way of role play. Most children love to have a job. So let them be the postal worker. Stick houses up all around the room or the corridor, each house needs a door number. Children put on their postal hat, get their sack of letters and deliver those important letters to each house, matching numeral to numeral. We have created this activity for you, to make your lives a little easier. (Counting Avenue Match Numeral To House Activity) Children can also count objects of things that interest them such as animals, things in the park, minibeasts or food in a supermarket. Link this to role play areas, where children can count out items in a shop and use coins to pay. Whatever they enjoy doing, use it to inspire them to want to learn maths.
Use Maths Games so children are learning, yet they are having so much fun they don’t actually realise it.
There are a whole range of maths games children can play, such as bingo, card matching games or even times tables dice games. Some of our favourite games are the ‘Place Value Money Tree’ and ‘Cash Cows’ games, letting children make the biggest numbers and winning money (sadly printable money), but children still love the concept. These are great ways to help children with place value, in a child friendly, fun way. Another of our favourites is the ten more ten less superhero game, this uses a superhero theme but it is based on the old ‘snakes and ladders’ idea.
Maths really doesn’t have to be done at a table, many great maths experiences are actually done outdoors, or in large open spaces. ‘What Time is it Mr Wolf’ is an old favourite or even P.E. activities easily lend themselves to maths, counting how many skittles have been knocked over. We have some great P.E. activities which do just that, one of them being the Super Spot game.
Children learn much easier when they are moving and having fun, than sitting at a desk.
Child Friendly , Animated, Modelled Powerpoint Presentation examples
Children can sometimes not understand what is needed with maths. They can become easily confused with powerpoint presentations which are not very child-friendly or too text heavy. They need to be able to relate to the subject and see it done. So they are clear of what they need to do and what the expectations are.
This is something Apple for the teacher have spent a lot of time working on with children and teachers to get it just right. With powerpoint presentations designed to not only have animations and friendly characters, they also show children exactly what is needed in a child friendly language, whilst asking questions throughout, to really engage children in their learning and encourage them to take part in the actual presentation. This gives them a much deeper understanding of the concept when they have a go at skills independently. Try our one more one less jungle challenge, to see if children can write the numbers down before the animals. Or our sorting objects presentation using a mastery small steps method, but in a very child-friendly way.
These are just a few of our tried and tested ideas and resources to really help to put the love in maths. Try some for yourselves, we have many more on our fantastic website, designed to put the love in learning for ALL children.
Have a great day from the Team..