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.


Geometry – Shape, position and direction

  • Make patterns using Lego bricks, your patterns could all use the same size bricks or you might want to change the size and colour of the bricks within your pattern.  Can you describe your pattern?  Which brick would come next?
  • Cut vegetables or fruit into different shapes.  Make a pattern with the different colours and shapes of fruit and vegetables.
  • Look around your home for different shapes. Can you use tallies to count how many of each shape you can find?
  • Go on a pattern hunt. Can you find any patterns on your floor / walls or on objects around your home?
  • Make different shapes out of paper you might have lying around at home and label them.  Can you identify the properties of the shapes, use the vocabulary sides, corners, symmetry?
  • Draw different shapes, do they have a line of symmetry?  Challenge yourself to draw shapes and patterns which have more than one line of symmetry.
  • Go for a walk and ask the children to give directions e.g. turn left, right, straight on, turn 90 degrees clockwise/anti-clockwise. Discuss road signs when you are out and symbols.
  • During your daily exercise, talk about what you can see in terms of position, e.g. 'Look, there's a red van in front of the Post Office.' 'Look at that white cat on top of Granny's fence.'
  • Go on a scavenger hunt in the garden to see how many different shapes you can find.  Look for patterns on flowers, leaves, snail shells, butterflies, ladybirds, etc.
  • Use language to describe things in the house e.g. over/under, on/in, up/down, taller/shorter.
  • Make up your own dance routine based around a square with rotations such as anti-clockwise/ clockwise etc. Name the moves. Challenge yourself to teach it to someone else using the correct vocabulary.
  • Using 2 sticks or straws, can you make 1, 2 and 4 right angles?  What other angles can you make?
  • Draw different stick men with two arms and two legs. How many different ways can you do where the arms and legs are different sized angles (including greater than and less than a right angle)?  For each drawing write how many greater and/or less than angles there are e.g. 2 angles less than a right angle, 2 angles greater than a right angle.
  • Create a group freeze frame showing lots of different angles and draw this afterwards.  Can you turn 45° to the left?  How has your angle changed?
  • Look through a magazine/newspaper and identify the shapes you see. Organise them into different groups. Do some shapes fit into more than one group? Why?
  • Use Play-doh to make two different 3D shapes.  Write down the similarities and differences between them. What are their properties?
  • Investigate how many ways you can make different squares and rectangles with the same area of 84cm².  Which strategies did you use?