Top Ten Tips for Numeracy
Here are zoobookoo.com's top ten tips:
1. Get real!
From a young age and at every opportunity encourage your child to count out loud: for example apples on a plate. Build up to working out how many items you need to buy: if there are four in your family, and you each eat two apples in a week, how many do you need for the week? Extend this to working out how many miles to go when travelling and other every day situations.
2. Number line
This is a line with numbers - usually to 20 to begin, continuing higher in schools. It visually demonstrates increasing and decreasing quantities. Make your own on a large sheet of paper – it could be a colourful snake, a long scarf etc, and work through lots of examples saying if you start on six and add two how many do we have? Try subtracting too.
3. Number bonds
These are as vital in the early days as the times tables are later. For instance number bonds to 5 would be 1+4, 2+3, 3+2, 4+1 and 5+0. They form a building block for the harder sums. See below for a useful list of number bonds for various ages. Ensure your children know their number bonds by heart.
4. Times tables
Probably the most important building block in a child's numeric development, times tables form a key stone to all other mathematical challenges, not to mention incredibly useful in real life. Chant them, sing them, forwards, backwards, test each other, practice the easy ones they may have forgotten. Make them second nature for them - this is a gift for life.
5. Activity place mats
Before the meal and after you can have fun with write-on wipe off activity maths mats – available for all ages. There are even some Magic Mats which have invisible answers that the children can reveal by rubbing a magic box with their finger (see below for details). This can buy you valuable time to prepare dinner!
6. Dice games
Keep a dice game in your bag for those"‘waiting" moments in restaurants or at the doctors. Dice games are great fun and are wonderful for reluctant mathematicians (education by stealth).
7. Think in 10s
You may do this instinctively but if not then start now. So 22 plus 13 is 22 plus 10 plus 3. Or 58 minus 39 is 58 minus 40 plus 1. It is so much easier to take away or add quickly in 10s and then add or minus the single digits.
8. Height chart
Run a height chart at home. Make or buy one. Discuss growth, working out the amount grown and the differences between siblings and parents. Ask relatives and friends to be measured.
9. Pocket money
When your child is of an age to understand the concept of pocket money, run a points system. Points are gained through the week for good behaviour, special moments of kindness or thoughtfulness, tidying up etc and they are lost for poor behaviour, nastiness etc. Each point is worth so many pennies. You can gear the system to arrive at a figure you feel is reasonable for pocket money.
10. Maths for parents
Many schools and colleges offer various free "maths for parents" courses. Get involved! This is a great way to understand how and what your child is learning. It's not the same as it was back in our day!
For helpful numeracy resources for parents and carers visit www.zoobookoo.com