Maths at Home Activities
Here are some other ways you can teach the curriculum while doing the laundry.
Sorting and grouping is the task of identifying a common feature to form a group. This basic maths skill is important in learning to organise knowledge and ideas. Children need to learn to discriminate differences, to reason and analyse, and to select items to form groups. This can be practiced very easily by asking the following questions:
- Can you make a pile of all the towels?
- Can you make a pile for colours, a different pile for dark colours and another pile for the whites?
Matching is the task of identifying which items are the same and which are different. Matching is important to help children develop a range of thinking and problem-solving skills, such as being able to identify patterns, relationships, similarities, and differences and discriminates on such basis. You can teach this by asking your child to:
- Match pairs of socks. (identical objects)
- Match pyjama tops and bottoms. (related objects)
Comparing is an important skill that young children learn very quickly, especially when it comes to treats :-). Try asking the following:
- Do we have more black socks or more white socks?
- Who do you think has the most t-shirts in the washing basket – you or me? Let us check and see!
- Is this white towel the same as that white towel? (Bigger, smaller, longer, shorter)
- Build another pile of socks with the same number of socks as this one
Counting is one of those maths skills that can be incorporated into almost everything we do. Reinforcing the correct number sequence is important because it allows numbers to be used to describe and compare sets. You can practice this by asking the following:
- How many towels are on the line?
- How many pairs of socks have we matched? (push them aside while counting)
- How many clothes pegs do we have?
- How many clothes pegs do you think we will need to hang three towels?
2. The Kitchen
The kitchen can provide lots of opportunities for rich mathematical experiences – as a parent you may be already sharing these with your children and not even knowing you are teaching the maths curriculum. Young children can help by setting the table, organising the shelves, cooking, and baking and apply the basic maths skills of sorting, grouping, matching, and counting. Develop their maths skills by asking the following when you are setting the table
- Ask your child to sort the place mats, depending on colour or size
- Give all the cutlery to the child and ask them to separate them into different groups – forks, spoons, knives etc and get them to talk about their arrangements
- Get them to gather all the plastic plates together
- Match this fork with another fork exactly like it
- Match this napkin to one exactly like it
- Each person at the table should have a knife and a fork – will you place one fork and one knife at each setting
- Match each cup to a saucer
- Every chair should have one cushion on it, can you find a chair with more than one cushion?
- Can you find a chair with less than one cushion?
- Everyone has ice in their glass – can you spot someone who has more ice than you?
- What is different between Dad’s slice of bread and yours?
- Investigate the different sizes of serving bowls on the table
- Demonstrate the portion sizes: big portion for parents, medium portion for children, small portion for baby
- How many people will be sitting at the table tonight?
- How many cups are on the table? When you are placing cups on the table count them as you do so.
- How many more do we need?
- Ask the child to give two slices of bread to everyone
- Count out enough spoons for everyone for dessert
- Estimate how many cookies are in the jar (less than 20), count them and check.