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 – Counting and Place Value

  • Draw dots or dotted lines to support your child with their number formation, begin with dots that are close together and then spread them further apart.
  • Use your daily exercise time to look for numbers in the environment, e.g. on car registrations, houses, road signs. House numbers are a great way for focusing on odd and even numbers.  When you get home, can you order the numbers you have found?
  • Write numbers on milk bottle tops. Get the children to throw something circular or a cloth/ ball at or over that number.
  • Attach numbers to the wall.  Shout out a number to be the target to aim for. Children can hit that number with a soft ball/ nerf gun/ fly swat/ hand.  Move to the next step by creating number bonds for the target number.
  • Ask your grown-up to tell you a number. Place this number of raisins or cereal pieces onto your plate.  If your grown-up says ‘one more’, can you add one more and say the number you have? If your grown-up says ‘one less’, can you eat one then count the number you have left?
  • Build a tower with 7 bricks. Can you build two more towers of bricks, one that uses one less than 7 bricks and one that uses one more than 7? Can you put these in an order? What do you notice?
  • Place some small toys in front of your child and ask them to say how many they have. Can you count out a group of toys that is one more?
  • Write numbers on pieces of paper and hide them around your house/garden. Go on a number hunt!  Each time you find a number tell your grown-up what you have found.  You could try using a timer too- can you find and name all the numbers before the timer runs out?
  • Ask children to set the table and check with them how many chairs, plates, knives and forks will be needed.
  • When tidying up, count the bricks back into the tub or the teddies back into the tub.
  • Do the laundry together. Sorting clothes in different colours or types (e.g. shirts, trousers) will develop an understanding of shape, colour, and patterns. Pairing socks will start an understanding of shape matching and counting in twos.
  • Draw 20 simple shapes on a piece of paper. Number the shapes, e.g. from 10-20, 90 – 100 and leave some empty.  Place a toy onto a numbered shape and ask your grown-up to tell you the number.  Are they correct?  Can they place a toy on a number shape for you to identify? 
  • Write numbers on small pieces of card, lay them out in sequence but with one number missing. Can your child find the missing number?  You can extend this by using different number sequences and patterns (e.g.2s, 5s or odd numbers only).  Can you swop numbers around?  Does your child see the mistake?
  • Count in 2s, 5s and 10s while skipping, hopping, jumping around the garden.
  • Gather coins from around the house and sort them into the different types.  Use these to develop counting skills by counting in 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, 20s and 50s.
  • Collect sticks/leaves from your garden.  Set an amount for your child to find and then ask your child to double this amount.  How many will they have now?
  • Enjoy your favourite picture book, count how many animals on the page, how many objects are blue, etc.
  • Top Trumps - enjoy a game and use your comparing skills.  If you don’t have any Top Trumps sets at home, perhaps work together to create a set based on your favourite things.
  • Design a board game that uses a number track. You can make it as simple or as complex as you like!