I always struggled with maths during my younger years and experienced brain fog when asked to complete a numerical task. I think it’s because I didn’t find the subject or the teacher fun. However, we only ever had heavy textbooks and number crunching and not the wonderful STEM-focused toys that exist today!
Whilst I never had any positive memories of learning maths in childhood, Cyrus is now learning maths in so many magical ways via the TV, games and on his iPad. And with early-age maths competence still the strongest predictor for future academic success, I’m determined that he has enough to learn with as he progresses through school.
UK ranks seventeenth in the world for maths competence
The UK currently ranks seventeenth in the world league tables when it comes to maths competence assessed at the age of 15, with China, Singapore and Macau in the top three places. But what can we do to improve this?
With National Maths Week approaching (8-12 November 2021), it’s the perfect time to consider your approach to maths home learning and how you can support children to see maths as fun rather than feared and loathed, so that children can excel at the subject we loathed at school.
Review: Geomag Maths Magicube
*Disclaimer: We were sent this Geomag set for free in return for a review. All opinions are our own.
Following a spate of Covid-19, we’ve had to do some home-schooling this past week, so this Geomag Maths Magicube set has come in really handy.
What’s in the box?
The maths Magicube set from Geomag contains 16 coloured cubes and 45 magnetic numbers. The cubes stick together from any side, and that helps to improve motor skills and creativity. There’s also a handy booklet included in the set to help you make the most out of it.
It’s such a simple concept, but a really great tool to help youngsters understand both colours and numbers.
You can use the cubes to make any shape or buildings, but most importantly this set helps children to understand numbers, symbols and mathematical sequences. It’s hands-on learning that promotes STEM learning.
The Maths Building Set is suitable for ages three plus and definitely gets the thumbs up from Cyrus. You can shop other sets in the range here.
Tips to support children for maths home learning
Martin Hassler Hallstedt, PHD, learning psychologist and Founder of Count on me! has 5 tips to support children for maths home learning:
- Make maths fun – as maths needs to be learned, the exercises need to be captivating and engaging. You can help make maths magical and fun by talking maths with children every day and introducing a game element or challenge with your children. For example, painting by numbers, playing bingo with addition, identifying shapes as you walk from school or travelling in the car.
- Study in short bursts – Practicing maths at home doesn’t need to require a lot of time. You can incorporate it into almost anything you do for example when cooking, let you child count or weigh the ingredients or collect numbers of leaves when on a walk. As primary school children have short attention spans, keep it short – aim for a maximum of 15 minutes per session.
- Repeat tasks and practice every day for knowledge retention – Practice makes perfect! Children need to be able to do the task every time so it becomes second nature. As they become fluent and competent, confidence grows too. Repetition is key, so it is better to do maths together for only 5 minutes a week, rather than none.
- Think beyond traditional techniques – Think beyond the traditional pure mathematics exercises such as subtraction and multiplication and incorporate a game such as the Count on me! maths app, which has a storyline, adventure and characters to make it captivating and promote learning outcomes. There are endless amounts of free and fun resources available online with videos, games and ideas on how you can practice maths anywhere you may be.
- Reframe your language and attitude to maths – Our language and the words we use affect our children’s attitude. Talk to your children about how amazing, fun and magical you find maths. If we start talking about maths as something positive, children will embrace it in this way too.
New maths app – Count on me!
Count on me! is a NEW maths app from Akribian for children aged 6-9 years based on a unique concept of Game-Embedded Teaching (GET) which is proven to accelerate learning. Children can only play the game for 15 minutes per day as the characters in Numberia go to ‘rest’, so it involves limited screen time with maximum learning outcomes.
Research has shown that children who practice maths by playing Count on me! improve their skills by 60 percent, compared to children who do not use the app. Developed using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with advanced gaming technology, the captivating, story-driven game helps children learn and master early maths concepts such as pattern recognition, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and equalities.
Count on me! is now available on the App Store for iPads* and will be available on Android tablets later this year. Count on me! is £9.99 a month, and you can try the first week for free. For more information visit www.akribian.com
Review: Gear up with some Mechanics loops and turns fun
If science is more your thing to bring maths to life, then Geomag’s Mechanics Gravity might appeal to your young enthusiastic learners.
This is a great STEM toy that has certainly ticked all the right boxes with Cyrus. He loves it because it’s not just challenging and inspiring, it’s also packed with fun – so Geomag toys always get a big thumbs up in our house.
We reviewed the Geomag Mechanics Gravity – Loops and Turns.
What’s in the box?
What’s in the box? There are around 120 small pieces of plastic (made of 74 per cent recycled plastic), ten ball bearings and an instruction booklet. This kit is aimed at children aged eight years and over, but Cyrus, five, soon got to grips with what he needed to do under the watchful eye of his baba (daddy).
With instructions in hand, Cyrus and H were able to make a sturdy little circuit with a ball bearing runway within 30 minutes. The easy-to-fire canons shoot the ball bearings around the track at speed.
The kit entertained Cyrus for a good few hours on Saturday afternoon. The motion is provided by the invisible forces of gravity and magnetism, without using electricity or batteries. The play experience is based on these fundamental principles of physics. In our view, Mechanics Gravity is a STEM toy that really stimulates curiosity and inspires young people to learn more about science.