Tips and Links for Parents
USEFUL TIPS FOR PARENTS USING MATHS AT HOME
From birth your child has been learning about maths. Maths is everywhere around us. Talking to your child and letting her take part in everyday activities like going to the shop, cooking, or even setting the table, helps your child with maths. Knowing simple nursery rhymes, getting dressed, learning to take turns or enjoying pretend games, such as working in a post office or restaurant, all help your child to understand number, pattern and shape, measuring and sorting. You can help your child to solve maths problems every day by, for example, working out how to share sweets equally, by making sure everyone has a knife and fork at dinner time, or by helping him or her to measure out enough paper to wrap a present. Even when your child starts school, you can continue to play a key role in helping him or her to understand and enjoy maths. Here are some tips on how you can do this: ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Information for parents • Give your child containers to play with. Talk about: holds more/less or empty/full. Try activities such as baking or playing with sand/water. • Encourage your child to tidy up toys. Try comparing them: This toy is heavier/lighter, or bigger/smaller than. • Make patterns using buttons or clothes pegs. Think about pattern in colour, size and shape. • Say simple counting rhymes together: Ten Green Bottles. • Give your child maths objects to play with: measuring tapes, rulers, phones, watches, jugs, weighing scales. • Look at the clock: time for school/bed. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •
Ask your child to help with sorting: matching socks, or putting things in the fridge/press. • Look at shapes: How many circles can you see in the kitchen? What shapes can you find in the garden? Look at books and pick out different shapes. • Draw attention to the, days of the week and time of the day: today, yesterday, tomorrow, morning, night. • Look at numbers: on cars, buses, in shops. Have number hunts to see who can spot the most numbers. • Measure your child: How tall is he/she? What is his/her shoe size? Use words like big/small, wide/narrow, tall/short. • Play counting games: counting up and down stairs.
Play simple games using a dice: Snakes and ladders, Bingo or Hopscotch. • Draw or make shapes using sand, pasta, crayons, cardboard cut-outs. Talk about them: square/circle, straight/curved. • Make a pretend shop using tins and packets of food. Use real or pretend money. Talk about: How many? How much? What change did we get?
Counting can be fun and entertaining. Sing counting songs such as "One, Two Buckle My Shoe". Your local librarian can recommend fun counting books. Play Hopscotch – it's a counting game! There are lots of games where you count, such as Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes, Bingo, monopoly and card games.
- Computers + math = fun. There are great computer games available for math – ask your librarian or check out your local computer store. Make sure they are "parent approved". There are also super websites that have fun math games, such as www.mathplayground.com , www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise , and www.oswego.org . The NCCA website has lots of helpful videos for using maths with your children and explaining different maths concepts studied in school.
- Start Easy and Work Up! Once they have got the hang of counting by 1s, introduce skip counting, such as counting by 2s and 5s.
- Use household items for counting practice. Practise adding and subtracting with objects found around your house like spoons or pots and pans. When they've become good at these skills, move on to simple multiplication.
- Tap into your child's curiosity. Go on a number hunt together and discover places where numbers are used such as a clock, TV, computer keyboard, calendar, telephones and licence plates.
- Use everyday activities. Your child's world is filled with everyday math problems that can be solved. For example, "There are four people in our family and we each need a knife and a fork to eat dinner. How many knives and forks do we need to set the table?"
- Kitchens can be math zones. Bake some muffins or cookies and ask your child to help you measure out the ingredients. It may be a bit messy but it's fun family time and there's nothing like a fresh cookie as a reward. Have math fridge magnets available so children can start making number patterns and doing simple math problems.
- Predict and compare. Start to measure and estimate things like how far it is from the driveway to the house or how long a trip will take and then measure and compare the actual time it takes.
- Talk about time. The concept of time can be hard to grasp. Talk to your kids about minutes and hours. Then get them to try counting days and weeks – for example how many "sleeps" until the weekend or a visit to a friend or relative.
- Identify geometric shapes and sizes. Play "I Spy". Instead of looking for words beginning with a letter, look for different colours or shapes and count the number you find in the roo m
Ms. O’ Kelly