Within the seven areas of Learning and Development in the EYFS, mathematics is such an important area as it forms the foundation of many life skills, including problem solving and measuring. It also helps children develop spatial awareness and gain an understanding of shapes.
Here are a few maths activities that you can do with the children in your setting and parents can also do with their children at home. The skills that the children will practice in these activities are:
- Counting and ordering
- Adding and subtracting
- Pattern making
- Problem solving
Practice makes perfect
Make repeating numbers one to twenty fun, not by just reciting them but singing them too! For the more adventurous members of the team, you could even try singing to the musical scale, one to twenty going up… and twenty back down to one going down!
Different things, same number
Grouping objects together and finding the same number of different objects teaches children what numbers mean; because they can associate the ‘name’ of the number with the physical objects. Ask the children to go and find 3 cars from the toy box, or spot 3 jumpers, or point to 3 hats.
Using what you know about extending children’s learning through effective questioning, you can talk to the children about the shapes and sizes of different objects, e.g. the round ball, or the square box, and ask questions like “can you pass me the biggest teddy?” or “which is the smallest car?”
Play and pattern-making
Collect as many different small items like buttons, shells, bottle tops or beads and compare their shapes and sizes with the children. They can put them in groups per size or shape, and make patterns, or group them all together – this is a great child-led activity.
This is something that can be incorporated into your day-to-day activities. Questions like “how many do we have altogether?”, or “how many more do we need now?” can be asked when cooking, or sorting the washing out, or shopping.
Cooking or baking with children gives parents such a great opportunity to introduce maths! Measuring ingredients, looking at the scales and measuring jug, and setting the timer are just a few things that will help to start recognising numbers and measurements.
We hope you enjoy these fun activities which will help with building children’s maths confidence.
Why not get your apprentices involved and ask them to come up with their own maths activities that fit in with the EYFS and will help with their apprenticeship? During National Apprenticeship Week they can upload ideas on social media using the hashtags #NAW2021 and #BuildTheFuture.
The BBC Bitesize website has some fantastic early years resources for learning at home which you can share with parents. You can find more activities here and on BBC CBeebies, top tips to “help children to be epic at maths” here.