One of the most important activities that parents can do to support their children's maths number skills is by helping them learn the times tables facts. The children need to be able to instantly recall the products for different questions from all of the times tables. Everyone should know the times tables facts by the end of year four. Initially, the children should learn the times tables by rote learning such as chanting the questions and answers or by learning songs and raps. This rote learning will help cement the times tables facts which the children can then be tested on by asking them random questions across all of the tables. Look for opportunities during the day when the children can recall answers to the times tables for a few minutes such as when working together to wash the dishes or walking the dog around the local area. You can also set the children some challenges to complete as many questions from the times tables in ten minutes which they can subsequently try to beat on a weekly basis.
There are a number of activities that children can complete at home which will strengthen their understanding of ideas and concepts in maths. Families can work together to follow different cooking recipes. This can support the children's measurements skills as they collect and prepare ingredients for a particular recipe. They can also practise scaling the ingredients to cook a meal for a different number of people than originally listed in the recipe. The children can explore how to convert ingredients in the recipe between units of measurement including from imperial to metric measurements for older children. They can also develop skills working in time by calculating how long a meal will take to cook by converting between hours and minutes and identifying durations. The children could also devise their own recipes by changing some of the ingredients in their favourite meal which the family could then try following.
Working from home, the children can develop number calculations skills when role-playing shopping using catalogues or online websites. Provide the children with a budget and set them the challenge of purchasing items from a shopping catalogues or online website which won't exceed the budget. The children will need to practise their formal written addition calculation skills when adding the prices of the selected items. Some children can be supported by getting them to round money amounts to whole pounds to make them easier to add together. Once the children have selected their items they can then use subtraction number calculation skills to identify the amount of the original budget remaining. The children could also try setting up some model shops in their home for members of their family to role-play purchasing. They will need to add totals and provide change as part of the shopping activity.
The children demonstrate their understanding of ideas and concepts in maths by creating quizzes for members in their family to complete. They should select some arithmetic number problems using questions for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using both mental and formal written calculations. The children can also devise some maths reasoning problems for other areas of maths such as fractions, geometry and measurement. Provide them with some example questions that they can use to create their own. The children can then ask members of their family to complete the quizzes before then marking and correcting the answers. The children could also devise some written quizzes using a word processing program to share with their friends or other family members by email or via a website.
The children deepen their understanding and show mastery of maths by teaching other members of their family different ideas and concepts related to number, measurement and geometry. The children can develop short lessons where they instruct someone in their family about how to complete a specific calculation before setting some activities related to the taught concept which can then be marked and assessed. Children without any siblings can either try instructing their parents or guardians or they can try teaching their pets or teddy bears. If children have access to a laptop or tablet they could try creating some multimedia presentations to teach particular maths ideas and concepts to their family.