Practical Maths

Here are a range of practical maths tasks and activities which can be easily created and adapted at home to suit the needs and abilities of all children.  Changing the numbers or adding an element of challenge can extend children’s knowledge and thinking.  Work together at home to prepare the things you need and then enjoy the maths.


Number – Bonds, Fractions and Calculations

  • Use egg boxes to practice number bonds up to 10.
  • Play shops. How many items do you have in your basket? How many does your family member have? How many altogether?
  • Build a tower using six blocks, now build another using four. Can you count how many blocks you have used in total?
  • Addition- pick two number cards from a pile of homemade number cards. Add these amounts together. Use objects from around the house to support your child to add the quantities together. Pens, pencils, Lego blocks, straws etc...
  • Count how many flowers there are in your garden. Create some fact families based around the numbers e.g. 12 daffodils x 6 daisies = 72, 72÷12 = 6.
  • Use sweets and cups/mugs to make your own sums using addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  How many different sums can you make?  What is the biggest answer you can make?
  • Write sums outside with chalk and ask someone else to complete them. Did they get them right? Can they set you a sum to complete?
  • Roll a dice from a board game and add up the numbers. Create your own sums, perhaps use a calculator to check your answers.
  • The answer to my question is 100.  Can you create 3 addition and 3 subtraction sums to give the answer?   Can you use multiplication and division?
  • Countdown:  Ask children to choose 1 or 2 numbers from the ‘top’ (25/50/75/100) and 4 or 5 numbers from the ‘bottom’ 1-10.  Challenge children make a target number.  How many different ways can you make the number? 
  • Cut out lots of different fractions, sort them into equivalent piles.  Ask children to record three more fractions – an equivalent fraction, a bigger fraction and a smaller fraction.
  • Create a list of equivalent fractions.  How many fractions can you list which are equivalent to ½?  ¼?
  • Can you find 3 fractions that can simplified 5 times?
  • Play pairs:  Create a set of cards that have different diagrams and fractions on. Children turn 2 over in their go. If they are equal fractions, then they keep the pair.  If not, they turn them back over and it is the other players turn.  The player who has the most pairs at the end wins.
  • Write decimal and percentages on flash cards and have them face down.  In pairs, turn one over at a time. The first person to write down 5 equivalent fractions to the decimal/percentage wins a point.


 Spinning cups- an activity for introducing simple equations. You just need to take a sharpie, write some numbers and mathematical symbols on the edges of styrofoam cups, and then stack them on each other in a logical order (e.g. 1 + 3 = 4). Now, show the little ones how to spin the different cups and create equations!