Low/No-Tech Games, Activities and Ideas
Board games: At Great Arley we love board games and each class has their own selection to use. Board games like Snakes and Ladders are brilliant for developing maths skills. In Snakes and Ladders, for example, your child is counting all the time, working out how many places they need to move forward, what number they need to throw to get to the biggest ladder, and what to avoid so they don’t slip down the snake. Dice games also involve probability, with children figuring out how likely it is that they’ll throw a six, or whether sixes come up less frequently than other numbers. Other board games that are good for building maths skills include Scrabble, where your child needs to add up the points for their word – including double and triple letter and word scores – and Battleship, which helps them practise using coordinates. Other games to consider are card games, dominoes, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Ludo, Connect 4 and snap. Our pupils also love trying to solve Rubix cubes!
Baking: Many of our pupils will be missing their weekly Cooking & Nutrition lessons so why not bake something at home? Any learning activity that results in cake is bound to interest your child, and baking is a good way to help them become familiar with mathematical skills like measuring mass and capacity. Cooking is great because you can adapt it to your child’s age. Younger children can simply help with weighing ingredients and reading the numbers on the scales, while for older children, you can make it more challenging by, for example, making a larger batch of cakes by doubling the recipe, or getting them to calculate the volume of your cake tin and work out how much of each ingredient you’ll need.
Painting and colouring: Many of our pupils love getting creative with painting, colouring and junk modelling. On the face of it, there might not seem to be much overlap between art and maths, but getting the paints and pens out can be a good opportunity to talk to your child about maths concepts. Colouring pictures with geometric patterns, or painting butterflies where your child paints one wing on one side of the paper and then folds it in half so it transfers to the other side, are really good opportunities to use mathematical language around shapes and symmetry. Drawing also involves measuring, perspective and scale, for example by copying something but at a size to fit your paper. Junk modelling involves exploring real life examples of 3D shapes. Making craft items such as necklaces using beads and pasta shapes also involves counting, sorting and creating repeating patterns.
Origami: Paper planes, boats, hats, flowers and swans… Origami is a thoroughly satisfying low-tech activity for kids and is also a good way to encourage an understanding of many maths skills. Paper folding involves making sense of, and using, precise instructions – a form of problem-solving – and it also helps children to understand symmetry, 2D and 3D shapes and fractions. Perhaps you could see who can make a paper plane that flies the furthest? Or a paper boat that can hold the most paperclips? Or use your origami creation on the front of a card to post to a friend or family member?
Trip planning: Unfortunately we are limited in where we can go currently but why not plan a day trip or a holiday for the future? Planning a day trip or a holiday provides a whole range of ways for your child to practise using everyday maths. There are so many opportunities, from working out how long a journey will take and what time you’ll have to leave, to following maps, to reading timetables. You could use the site map and animal feeding timetable to plan a trip to Blackpool Zoo.
Memory games: Memory games can help to develop children's speaking, listening, retention and concentration skills. You could play or make your own version of snap or pairs. Our pupils also enjoy playing 'I went to the shops and I bought...' which can also them to recall the order of the alphabet and develop vocabularly.
No maths equipment? No problem! You could make your own dice and explore the nets of 3D shapes. You could use cereal, pasta or sweets as counters for playing games or supporting calculating. You could also make your own number line using chalk in the garden to explore numbers increasing or decreasing in size.