Learning At Home Activities

Tips for learning about maths so it is not scary

Do you have tips for learning about maths?

Making learning maths fun is important I think. How many of us remain a little scared of all things numeracy? Is it really so terrifying and if we think so, what messages are we giving to our children? How many of you struggle to understand your children’s numeracy homework even at primary school age? Just me then?!

I have decided to incorporate things that I hope will make maths much more fun for both myself and the children.

It is important to have a laugh! Looking at answers people have given to exam questions can be fun. People can be very inventive when asked to “find x”. I certainly struggled to understand how numbers could sometimes be letters. How about you?

Keeping things simple initially helps – both myself and the children need to feel good about their ability to tackle maths. Set them up to succeed and as confidence grows, play with new concepts and tasks.

Accepting that times and methods have changed since you were at school. The positive spin on this is that it means your children can help explain things to you that you don’t get – they love that in my experience! Also you get to develop your knowledge which has to be a good thing.

Don’t assume everything was covered in the classroom. Check what they have and have not heard of and what methods they have used.

Consider the links between art and mathematics and music and mathematics. These may be the key to unlocking your child’s interest in numeracy.

Use everyday opportunities for learning such as shopping and cooking. Learning does not have to happen in a classroom style format.

Devise affirmations about maths with your child. I am using this more and more. Examples include “Parents and teachers make mistakes too” and “I am not bad if I cannot work it out yet”

One this home education journey of ours, I am working things out every day but I think if we share what we know that tends to be a good thing.

Do you have any tips on making learning about maths less scary?


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • Emma

    I think it’s so important to show children the beauty of maths rather than putting them off by expecting them to memorise facts or perform random tasks for the sake of it. Learning just to pass tests is boring and disjointed, and it’s difficult to make the mental links that are crucial to really understanding maths if everything’s looked at individually and abstractly, in its own little box. Learning naturally, allowing the knowledge to build up, understanding the rules and reasons behind why things work, making connections for yourself, it can be the most fascinating and absorbing subject. So yeah, I think a hugely important part of learning maths is not just learning and using formulas or knowing how to ‘find x’, but also understanding where they come from, why they work, how they relate to other parts of maths (and to the world) and why they’re useful.

  • Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com

    I found my other half the other day, playing bouncy maths bingo with my 6 year old son. It involved bouncing on the chairs in the living room ,answering maths questions. If that isn’t making maths fun, I don’t know what is!

  • Place to stand

    I home schooled for four years in two languages – I agree maths by rote and endless tests – rather like language learning will most likely put them off for life !

    Obvious stuff really but try to make it fun – measuring ingredients for cakes, counting flowers, some great websites – mine liked maths whizz.com.

    I am on a frugal February as have been invited – very luckily to lots of amazing weekends away – that combined with not walking the dog means I need to rein it in a bit.

    You will have no doubt seen the articles that despite sending them to school at four and endless tests we are failing children left right and centre. Soapbox away – for the moment. Great blog.

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