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How can I encourage my child’s love of Maths?

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When your kids love Maths, and/or find school maths easy and you want to do something to encourage them outside of school, what can you do? The answer is LOTS! And depends somewhat on your child and your objectives.

Curricular extension

Perhaps you’d like to give your child further work – either extra depth questions at the level of their year group, or work from a higher year group – to keep them motivated and learning? There are two sides to this. On the one hand, I think it’s important to keep a bright child stimulated and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving them work at a higher level so they keep learning. For ideas on what this could look like in Primary School, see my post Books to support your child’s learning at home – Primary School. However, the argument often given against this is that the further you push them ahead of their peers, the more bored they will be in school. I only buy this to a small degree. Yes, it’s true, they will be bored. However, the likelihood is they are bored already and you are unlikely to be making things better by artificially holding them back. I have found that making sure they are learning outside of school has made my kids feel better about not making progress in school. Plus they often then practice their new work in their jotters when they’ve done the class work! It should be said, I’m not promoting artificially pushing kids ahead in a way that is putting pressure on them or at a level they can’t cope with – more meeting them where they’re at, whatever that looks like. The more the child leads the learning, the more they’ll learn and their enthusiasm will remain in tact.

Extra-curricular extension

Another way to keep your child interested in Maths is to challenge them in ‘non-schooly’ ways. I love getting my kids to think laterally, and the more you can challenge them with different sorts of problems to solve, the more they really understand and enjoy numbers. Here are a few ideas of things you could do:

  1. This website NRICH Maths Club Activities is fantastic for providing some resources to get your kids investigating and thinking outside the box.
  2. I LOVE these ‘Busters Brain Games books’ – https://amzn.eu/d/7ANuJ6n. There are loads of different ones. They are marketed more at KS2, but I think could be easily done from Reception (or even before) by bright kids. My kids like to do them in the car on the way to school, or as breakfast challenges.
  3. There are some great craft activity books that, whilst not necessarily increasing your kids Maths ability, do let them relax with some numbers and tessellations. You could try sticker-by-number challenges like https://amzn.eu/d/cYBJFxr, or colour-by-number challenges like https://amzn.eu/d/dsDlsej.
  4. See if there is a local group run by someone like Potential Plus that offers interesting workshops in the holidays. We love ‘Surrey Explorers’ and my son finds out all sorts of interesting Maths from these workshops. http://www.surreyexplorers.org/
  5. Visit museums like the Science Museum in London – the Wonderlab has some great Maths activities, as well as the Maths floor itself.
  6. Go to lectures at the Royal Institution https://www.rigb.org/ – they have some fantastic ones for kids on Science and Maths.
  7. Get a Maths tutor who understands what you want – i.e. exciting out-of-school extension work to stimulate your kid’s brain!
  8. Have a go at some of the UK Maths Challenges – https://ukmt.org.uk/current-past-papers. These are great for the upper end of primary school (if you choose the Junior Maths challenges) and senior school (if you choose intermediate/senior challenges).

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