Maths Play: Making 10

Understanding and being able to quickly recognise which pairs of numbers group together to make 10 is an extremely useful numeracy skill for children to have. It assists greatly with quick skills in addition, subtraction and multiplication as well as laying some great building blocks for problem solving skills. If you can easily recognise that 7 add 3 gives you 10, then even adding numbers like 67 add 4 becomes easier because you are able to recognise that 67 needs 3 more to reach 70, and you have one extra so the answer is 71. Having a ten digit […]

x y z is as Easy as 1 2 3

A recent study just published in the journal Developmental Science looked at the ability of children aged between 4 and 6 to do basic algebra.  It was discovered that children of these ages, before any formal lessons have been taught, have a natural ability to do basic algebra. They used the “Approximate Number System” or “number sense” which is one’s natural ability to estimate the magnitude of a group without relying on language or symbols.  Our innate ANS is said to probably be an evolutionary adaptation which helped humans to survive in the wild.
What is interesting is that if […]

Add This To Your Shopping List

Doing your weekly shopping can be a great opportunity for incidental learning and fun. A lot can be achieved through simple conversations and interactions. Here is an activity that encourages your child to help you with the shopping, all the while learning a set of invaluable skills.
Start by choosing a way in which you’d like your child to categorise the items in your trolley. Next decide on two to four categories into which they can sort your shopping.
Depending on your child’s age your groups can be as simple as hard versus soft or separating into big, medium and small […]

Patterning – The Foundation Blocks Of Algebraic Thinking

Patterns serve as the foundation blocks of algebraic thinking. Through patterns and sequences children learn predictive reasoning and logic, which forms the cornerstones of Algebra.
Patterns exist naturally around us in everyday life and add a symmetry, beauty and comfort to the world around us. The simplest pattern that babies learn from an early age is day, night, day, night. When babies learn and understand that this pattern exists, they have a sense of security as they can predict what comes next.
We can start teaching our babies patterning from very early on and build on the complexity as the child […]

Exploring Symmetry

Symmetry might be a small part of geometry but it is a vitally important concept which links maths to the real word. Symmetry can be easily seen in everyday life. It exists all around us, in nature, in art, in our homes and in the mirror. Children naturally seek the balance and order of symmetry in everything around them.

Exploring symmetry/reflections (and thus transformations) enables the mind to recognise the complexities of shapes from many different orientations, with reflections being one of the easier of the two. IQ and aptitude tests always have spatial questions because brains that can reflect […]

5 Important Ways To “Speak Maths” With Your Children

Sometimes we don’t realise it but maths is a language in itself. New mums are always keen to expand their baby’s vocabulary; to teach them lots of words and to help them learn to speak and understand English. Stacey Keyser, an experienced speech pathologist says, “Language development begins from birth and needs to be modeled everyday by parents and caregivers.”
Teaching your baby the words and language associated with mathematics is the easiest way to incorporate maths into your baby’s life from an early age. Here are my top 5 essential ways to “speak maths” with your children.
Keyser suggests that […]

Shapeimals – Shape Art

Why is learning about shapes important?
When you look outside, while you probably don’t verbalise everything you see, you brain is processing, defining and sorting. It sees the brown, rectangular building, the yellow, triangular children crossing sign and the circles on the traffic lights. We all use shape as a way of identifying and organising what we see. Very early on, your child begins to make a connection between familiar objects and their shapes.

Children learn about shapes and their properties by playing with them. I have been having fun making animals out of basic shapes which is easy and fun […]

Movement Maths for Babies

Today we have a really simple activity to do with your baby that teaches them mathematics and algebraic ideas through movement.
This activity is like line dancing for babies, but will just use their hands and arms. Together you will do a short sequence of movements and then repeat them as many times as it is fun for both you and your baby to do so.
For example, together with your baby you might do the following sequence:
“Hand up!” – you put your left arm in the air while your baby copies and puts their right hand arm up.
“Hand on face!” […]

A Healthy Introduction to Algebra

Patterning is the first stage of algebra so why not try forming patterns with fruit? Using cookie cutters you can make all sorts of shapes in all sorts of colours. At the same time your children will get their healthy dose of fruit. The kids I know have assured me that a rockmelon ducky tastes way better than just plain old rockmelon 🙂

Get your kids to help you cut up the fruit and once it’s cut there are many activities to try.

Patterning: Start a pattern using just two different shapes or two different fruits of the same shape and […]

Teaching Quantity and the Language of Maths

Since having my first baby in February of this year it is amazing to see how much he has learned and developed through play. I’ve been asking the other mothers in my mother’s group what sorts of games they play with their little ones and what they think their children are learning from these games.
Play isn’t just about fun. Play is the key to learning. It’s no secret that children learn through play.  Babies learn language, vocabulary, hand-eye coordination, develop fine and gross motor skills, rhyming, rhythm and many other skills through play.
The games that these mothers play with […]