14 Ways to Make Learning Fun at Home
Hey hey lovelies. Mum guilt has well and truly set in. I feel like I’m spending far less time with my big little one, B. And I am. I have a newborn to contend with – birth story here. Which means less time to dedicate to B. And I want to spend more time with him, especially to help him with his reading and maths. We had parents evening a few weeks ago and although he’s doing fine at school overall, we want to try and make more of an effort at home to help him with his learning. I’ve enlisted some other parents to share their ideas for making learning fun and we’re also trying out these Mathlink Cubes gifted to us from Learning Resources.
What are Mathlink Cubes?
Mathlink cubes are simply little cubes that can be stacked, mixed and matched, and used to solve various maths problems and challenges. These packs contain ten different colours of ten cubes – so 100 cubes in total. Each cube is 2cm high, meaning they can also be used for measuring things. We reviewed the activity set and fluency set.
The activity set is great for ages 4-8 years and focuses on a number of early maths skills. B is doing fine at school but I’d like to support his learning at home too. And this is where these cubes are great. B even says they have them at school!
The set comes with 15 double-sided activity cards which give you loads of ideas for how to use the cubes. Some examples include:
- Patterning and sequencing
- Sorting and grouping
- Adding and subtracting
- Size recognition
- Colour recognition
It’s worth reading through the instruction booklet because it tells you what to do with each card. Some are obvious, adding and subtracting, but others I wasn’t sure on. The cards give suggestions on measuring things, building 2D and 3D shapes, as well as sharing and grouping.
The fluency set takes maths that step further and is ideal for ages 6-10 years. The cards are focused on developing maths skills, looking at times tables, division, fractions and statistics.
Making Learning Fun at Home
As mentioned, I’ve also enlisted the help of some other parents, who share their ideas for making learning fun at home. B can be reluctant when it comes to sitting down and doing maths, reading or writing. But if it’s done in a fun, playful way, he doesn’t realise he’s learning.
Fun with Money
“We use real or play money to add and subtract they absolutely love it and it’s fab for teaching them too.” Lianne at Ankle Biters Adventures.
Make Everything a Game
Jade at Mummies Waiting suggests making everything a game. “A great way to remember letters and numbers is to place them all in a tuff tray, when they recognise a sound/number they say it and scoop it up with a spatula and pout it into their frying pan. The first one with 10 pieces in their frying pan wins and gets to ‘flip’ their pan throwing all the sounds/numbers into the air.”
Little and Often
“For our times table we look for opportunities everywhere we go. Eg on the tube we count tube stations and then run through that times tables (god I am such a fun mum), similarly, see a house number, multiply the digit etc. Maybe not super fun, but little and often works for us!” Maggy at Red Ted Art.
Every Day Maths
Emma from Emma and 3 suggests using maths day to day in practical situations such as the shops.
“In shops get kids weighing out fruit and veg – can they guess weights? This is good for teaching measurements and also for predictions and estimating. Then get them to count out change etc. Maths needs to be made practical so that kids understand the purpose.”
“You can do so much with baking and it is a great way to lean so many things! – weight, number, following instructions, writing instructions, take photos and explain how you make it, science & senses!” – Anna at Popitha.
Lauren at Sophie’s Nursery suggests playing with puzzles. “Play & investigate with puzzles – tangrams, jigsaw puzzles, puzzle books with various logic problems in for children to solve are all great practical ways for teaching maths without them realising they’re doing it.”
YouTube and Netflix Maths Shows
“We count everything, spot numbers in car number plates and street signs, make up songs with numbers and also watched YouTube counting shows (they’re actually on Netflix so we do that now). We also do lots of counting fingers and H now does this a lot in the car, for instance she now sits doing sums and we cheer when she gets it right, or counting to 100, or counting even numbers. She’s only 4 but it’s great for car journeys.” – Lynne – New Mummy Blog.
Make a Game of It
“We’ve got several Orchard Toys maths games. Also wooden jigsaws and Duplo have numbers on the side of some of the bricks.”- Helena at The Queen of Collage.
Helena also suggests books that incorporate numbers. “We also read books together such as Mr Snails Counting Trails and Ten Little Bookworms and their seasonal equivalents.”
“During the school holidays I take the kids to the supermarket one day a week and give them a budget to plan and buy their meals for a 24 hour period. They absolutely love it and apart from having to figure out the mathematics of budgeting and prioritising they have also learnt how to meal plan and cook.” – Liberty at Liberty on the Lighter Side.
Rachel at Little Learners suggests messy play! “We start mark making and forming numbers in the Messy Play! Learning without even knowing it.”
Make Snack Time Maths Time
Kate at Ever After With Kids suggests using snack time as an excuse for maths. “Nothing gets my kids attention like snack time, so I always use it as a chance to practice some counting and basic maths skills when sharing out the raisins or bread sticks…the only time they will concentrate, but they are very very good and dividing things up now!”
Sarah at Arthur Wears suggests role play. “I set up this cafe role play area which was great for maths as we used price labels for number recognition, counting out, addition, using money etc. Sequencing for making real cakes, cups of tea etc. Possibilities are endless.”
Disclaimer: We were sent the Mathlink Cubes to review. All opinions are honest and our own.