Maths At Home

Here are some ideas that can help your child develop their mathematical skills both in the home and out and about with the family.


  • Counting steps/stairs as you go up – perfect for one to one matching
  • Pairing up socks and shoes
  • Laying the table – how many knives will we need? Putting things in a repetitive pattern.
  • Helping peg out the washing – counting, shapes, pattern.
  • Helping with the shopping – we need three oranges and two lemons. How many altogether?
  • Talking about the child’s age and those of the rest of the family.
  • Use ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.) in going through steps of a recipe, having a race down the garden, or getting dressed in the morning.

Sets and Sorting

  • Sorting the washing
  • Tidying away toys – getting the toys in the right boxes
  • Talking about similarities and differences between objects or people
  • Sorting everyday objects in the kitchen.


  • Following different sequences e.g. laying the table, getting dressed, in the same way each time
  • Singing songs or telling stories with a clear pattern, sequence of repetition, e.g. Old MacDonald, Three Blind Mice, Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Looking at the patterns on curtains, wallpaper, wrapping paper. Children can print their own wrapping paper to wrap a friend’s birthday present
  • Looking at patterns on buildings e.g. bricks in wall, windows
  • Building with blocks and different construction toys – using one piece after another.

Shape and Space

  • Describing different containers and packets in the kitchen and at the supermarket
  • Finding shapes in the child’s own environment e.g. road signs, post-boxes, windows and doors, books
  • Doing jigsaw puzzles (looking at the shapes of the pieces and the ‘holes’ where they could go, and keeping the overall shape of the puzzle develops spatial awareness)
  • Playing with car mats, train sets, or outside on tricycles. Measuring
  • Estimating how much is needed, for example, how much bread to make 4 sandwiches, how much icing to ice the cake
  • Playing in the sand pit using different containers
  • Bath time or washing up time – pouring from one container to another, filling different containers, using containers with holes
  • Talking about events throughout the day in order of sequence
  • Drawing child’s attention to the clock – e.g. we’ll have tea when the big hand is on the 6
  • Handling money at the shops. Role playing ‘shops’ at home using coins and counting out the right number
  • Tidying things away into different boxes and containers – will we fit them all in?
  • Comparing different lengths (dog’s lead, socks, shoelaces), weights (shopping bags, toys), areas (footprints of child and adult), sizes (teddies, chairs for child and adult) and capacity (child’s beaker and adults’ glass, bottles of squash).

Outdoor Maths

Learning doesn’t just happen indoors, there are loads of maths opportunities outside, even on a walk in the woods.

  • Counting cars (how many red, blue) etc. on the way to nursery or the shops.
  • Looking at numbers around us – on house doors, registration plates, shop windows.
  • collect sticks, pine cones, conkers and line them up in size order.
  • collect stones and look at their shapes.
  • pick up leaves and find matching ones, count the points, size order, do they resemble any shapes.
  • look around you for shapes, windows, roof, drain covers, street signs etc.

The list is endless.