Maths is an essential part of a child’s learning development, and this key transferable skill is mandatory in schools up until at least GCSEs, although many more technical university degrees will also require an A-level in the subject. Regardless of whether a child loves or hates it, they will have to complete the qualifications in maths to at least a basic level. If your child finds it difficult to work with numbers or if it doesn’t come as naturally to them as some, don’t despair, as there’s plenty that you as parents can do at home to improve their performance in the classroom. We’ve created a list of some of the best, mathematical games that are as fun and creative as they are educational that can benefit children from every learning type. The list includes games that are suitable for younger infants along with those that can be played and enjoyed throughout their time at our private school in Devon, and beyond.
It’s well known that children like to imitate adult activities such as ‘doctors and nurses’, talking on the phone, looking after dolls as if they are their own children and shopping. There is an array of different ways you can make these mathematical. Take shopping, for example, games can range from counting out the amount of a certain product to practise basic counting, to finding all the ingredients required for a specific recipe and encouraging the children to find out the price for each item and add them all together for a total cost. The joys of this game are that it can be easily adjusted depending on the skill level of the child, and makes an everyday example they are familiar with and understand which will help them to make sense of the numbers.
Hours are spent on rainy weekends in front of the Monopoly. There’s laughter, there are tears and there are all sorts of disputes, but ultimately this game provides an afternoon of entertainment with friends and family. The rules of the game require every participant to have a basic understanding of money and its value, along with markets, properties and investments. Younger children who need a little more help can join an adult team and add up the numbers on the dice or count out each move, while older children can practise strategy.
Guess My Number
Much like I-Spy, this word game takes on a numerical twist, providing the perfect car journey entertainment that will soon make those long, stressful trips fly by whilst also practising some basic arithmetic skills. One player must think of a number, whilst the other participants ask questions to narrow down the possibilities until they guess the correct answer. Questions can vary in difficulty depending on the abilities of those playing, for example, for younger children you might ask ‘Is it an odd number?’ whereas older children can differentiate between prime numbers and more complex divisions.
Another spoken maths game that can be played virtually anywhere, Fizz Buzz entails counting aloud but replacing multiples of three, and any number with three in it, with the word Fizz. Similarly, multiples of five, and any number with five in it, are replaced with the word ‘Buzz’. If it gets to someone’s go and the number in question includes both threes and fives, the player must state ‘Fizzbuzz’. As soon as a player makes a mistake, or says the next sequential number, as opposed to fizz or buzz, it means you have to start again from zero. See how far you can get as a family, or for larger groups, split into teams to see who can get the furthest.
101 and Out
All you need for this game is some dice, and as the name implies, the objective is to score as close to 101 points as possible without going over. Take it in turns to roll the dice and either multiply the amount shown by 10 or stick with the original amount and keep track of your scores until the first persons gets to 101. This game will quickly turn competitive, and children will need to strategise their techniques and demonstrate basic multiplication and adding up in order to play.
These are just some ideas for quick and easy maths-related games that might help to improve a child’s numerical confidence in the classroom. With younger children, particularly, basic skills such as addition, subtraction and multiplication will help them with a variety of mathematical challenges they’ll face in school, and the more you can practise with fun and engaging games, the better.