There’s more to maths than counting – try some of these ideas.
To create a lady bird number line you need:
Simply cut out the ladybird shapes from the red card. Cut out heads from the black card and stick on to the bodies. Draw a line down the centre of each ladybird body. Then cut out lots of black circles.
Work with the children to count and stick one circle on the first ladybird, two on the second, and so on. Help the children to write the correct number on each labybird and see if they can arrange them into ascending order. Stick them up somewhere prominent – you can use tack or string and pegs.
You can refer to the ladybirds to help you count – perhaps to work out how many cups you need to get everyone a drink. Or you can use them for number games. Pick a ladybird to start with and see if your child can count on two more. Pick another ladybird and ask your child to work out what one less would be. Ask each child if they can find the laybird which has their age number on. Simply having the numbers written down where your child can view them regularly will help them to become familiar with them – and soon they will be spotting them in other places too.
Turn the classic autumn craft of leaf rubbings into a useful math display by making a leaf number line.
How to make a number line – autumn leaf rubbing craft
When children learn to read and do simple arithmetic they need to be able to use their memory to recall information. A way to help develop this memory skill is with a simple party game, which you can play individually with your child, or with a group of children.
You’ll need: a tray, a tea towel (or similar cover), a selection of objects – say a train, a book, a wooden spoon, a teddy, an apple, a wooden block
(If you’re playing this at a themed party you can select a group of related items, for example for a ‘mermaid’ party you might use a shell, a starfish, a pebble, a fish etc.)
Sit the children down and show them the objects on the tray – say what each item is and have a chat about them. Tell the children you’re going to cover the objects up and then take one away – they’ll have to guess which object is missing.
The children can take it in turns to guess which is missing, or with older children the first person to shout out the answer is the winner. Bear in mind that children develop memory skills at different rates, so take care not to make anyone feel they are wrong or can’t take part. If a child can’t remember you can give some clues (refer back to what you said about the objects at the beginning of the game) or ask the team to help out.
As children get more skilled at remembering you can use a larger number of objects or remove two items at a time.
Do you remember playing ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’ when you were a child? Great fun and a nice way to incorporate counting into a game. Best played outside where there is lots of space to run.
One person – Mr. Wolf – is ‘on’ and stands facing a wall or tree. The other players stand a few metres away and shout ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’ If Mr. Wolf answers ‘Three o’clock’ the children have to take 3 steps towards Mr. Wolf – counting each step out loud. Repeat the questions and counting, with Mr. Wolf saying different times and the children getting closer and dangerously closer to Mr. Wolf each time. But watch out – when the children are very near and ask ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’ he shouts ‘Dinner time!’ All the children run away (with much shrieking!) and Mr. Wolf tries to catch someone. Whoever is caught becomes Mr.Wolf and the game is repeated.
A quick and simple way to enhance a plain brick wall in your garden is to create a chalk target to throw balls at. Your child can have fun trying to hit the bull’s eye and develop their hand / eye co-ordination. Playing against someone else encourages turn-taking, and they can learn numbers and simple adding up if they keep score. And of course, the target is easy to remove when the game is finished.