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Maths skills for ages 5-6

Building on early maths skills

Your child will now be more confident in those early maths skills and will be building on their knowledge and understanding of mathematical ideas and concepts. A lot of the maths your child will be doing is still practical and linked to their everyday life. These ideas will help you to further develop your child’s skills.

Things to try with your child

1. Have fun with maths

Play games that involve numbers, such as bingo, dice, card games and board games. Play ‘Guess My Shape’ – you think of a shape, and your child asks you questions in order to guess the shape. You can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Whatever your age, songs can be an enjoyable way of practising number skills. Try a backwards counting song like ’10 in a Bed’. Want to play some maths games? Visit our maths games and activities page.

2. Read together

Reading a book together is a great chance for your child to talk about the maths they can see on the page when reading. As well as this, lots of traditional tales and rhymes lend themselves to activities beyond the book. You could use modelling dough to make currant buns as in 'Five Currant Buns in the Baker's Shop', or make models of the animals used to pull Cinderella's coach and put them in order by size. Use building blocks to build a house for the little pigs and focus on the use of first, second, third etc. Or you could make a tower for Rapunzel and talk about how many bricks and which colour(s) you used.
Want to read some eBooks and find the maths on every page? Try our free eBooks

3. Talk about maths

Talking with your child about maths is important for building confidence. Whenever you can, try to talk about how you use maths in everyday life. Talking about recipes is a great way of doing this – you can count and measure ingredients, or, for example, share out banana slices equally between cakes and tomatoes equally between kebab sticks. You can also help your child to follow instructions, understanding first, second, third etc, or you could set a timer and talk about the amount of time needed to complete a recipe.

When you do the washing, separate items of clothing: all the socks in one pile, shirts in another, and trousers in another. Divide the socks by colour and count the number of each. Ask your child to sort their toys into groups, then ask them to tell you how they sorted them.
Want a recipe to try? Try this banana bread recipe.

4. Practise number skills

As your child’s understanding and knowledge of number develops, ask them to count in 2s, 5s and 10s. Ask them to sort objects, making groups of 3, 4, 5 or 6 things. Then ask them to make '8' in as many ways as they can (e.g. 4 and 4; 5 and 3; 2 and 6). Play matching games with number fridge magnets and objects. Match the fridge magnet to the correct number of things (e.g., the '8' magnet with 8 objects). Ask your child to look at dominoes and find all the ones that have a certain total: 'Find all the dominoes that have 10 dots altogether.' Then ask them to find a domino with more or less than that number of dots.

5. Measure up

Help your child to practise using a ruler for drawing straight lines and measuring. Make a picture using straight lines. Help your child to hold the ruler carefully as they draw. Play 'How Long?' or 'How wide?'. Work together to measure the length or height of everyday objects in the house (in metres or centimetres). Point out the starting and finishing number on the ruler and read the measurement together. Help your child line the object up with the 0 on the ruler or tape when they measure.

Order objects by height or length and use the words 'longer/taller than', 'shorter than', 'longest/tallest' and 'shortest'. Choose some items from your kitchen cupboard. Weigh them together and put them in order. Use the words 'heavier than', 'lighter than', 'heaviest' and 'lightest'.

6. Play maths games

Try these fun games with your child to practise maths skills and help to build your child's confidence. Most children love playing games and it's an easy way to support their learning.

Add to 20

Practise your addition skills with this fun game.

Take Away from 20

Practise your subtraction skills with this fun game.

Visit our fun maths activities page for a selection of activities and resources designed to help you enjoy maths with your child.

Maths at home

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