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10 ideas for engaging maths in Key Stage 2

Here are some practical and engaging maths suggestions. Some of the links are to websites so please remind your child of staying safe online expectations. If you have any questions about this, our ‘online safety section’ within the ‘mums, dads and carers’ part of the wesbite has some useful links.

  1. What’s My Number?
    • Ask the question: ‘The answer is 10 (or any number), what’s the question?’ Possible responses: 8 plus 2; 1 million divided by one hundred thousand; 5 x 2 ; 25 – 15; 2.5 times 4; the number before 11; 9999 subtract 9989 ; the square root of 100 etc. This is a great activity because: there’s no failure; it stimulates thinking about and stretching knowledge of numbers and mathematical relationships; it’s good fun.
  2. Car Registration Plates
    • On your daily exercise, look out for car number plates. What is the number on the plate? What is this to the nearest 10 or 100 or 1000? How many more would you need to reach the next multiple of 10, 100, 1000 or 10000?
    • Challenge – Decimal number plates – Each choose a car number plate with three digits. E.g. P645 CJM. Choose two of the digits, e.g. 4 and 6. Make the smallest and largest numbers you can, each with 1 decimal place, e.g. 4.6 and 6.4. Now find the difference between the two decimal numbers, e.g. 6.4 – 4.6 = 1.8.
    • Whoever makes the biggest difference scores 10 points. The person with the most points wins. Play the game again, but this time score 10 points for the smallest difference, or 10 points for the biggest total.
  3. Times Tables Learning
    • A good knowledge and quick recall of times tables is essential to children’s mathematical progress. The children are taught up to 12 x 12. The target is for all children to know their tables by the end of year four. It is very important that children practice their times tables daily at home. When learning their tables, children are taught to look for patterns such as odd and even number answers, or patterns made by adding together the separate digits in the answers. Children are also taught to recognise the reversible effect so that they know 6 x 2 is the same as 2 x 6. They are also taught the relationship with division so that knowing 6 x 2 = 12 means they also know that 12 ÷ 2 = 6 and 12 ÷ 6 = 2. For each known times table fact, they also know three others: 6 x 7 = 42 so they know that 7 x 6 = 42; 42 ÷ 6 = 7 ; 42 ÷ 7 = 6 .
    • Times tables – Say together the six times table forwards, then backwards. Ask your child questions, such as: Nine sixes? How many sixes in 42? Six times four? Forty-eight divided by six? Three multiplied by six? Six times what equals sixty? Repeat with other times tables.
    • To help children with their multiplication, one of the ways we use is to find all the factors that are used to make up a number. For example the factors of 18 are 1, 18, 2, 9, 6, and 3 because 18 x 1, 1 x 18, 3 x 6, 6 x 3, 9 x 2, 2 x 9 all equal 18
  4. Open – Ended Learning
    • g. the answer’s 25, what’s the question? How can you use combinations of 3 and 6 to make different numbers? (Use each number as many times as you like with addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.)
    • Four in a line – Draw a 6 x 7 grid. Fill it with numbers under 100. Take turns. Roll three dice, or roll one dice three times. Use all three numbers to make a number on the grid. You can add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers, e.g. if you roll 3, 4 and 5, you could make 3 x 4 – 5 = 7, 54 ÷ 3 = 18, (4 + 5) x 3 = 27, and so on. Cover the number you make with a coin or counter. The first to get four of their counters in a straight line wins.
  5. Rhymes and Songs
    • Make up rhyme together to help your child to remember the harder times-tables facts, e.g. 6 x 7 =42 phew! 7 x 7 = 49 fine! 6 x 8 = 48 great!
    • There are loads of these to listen to and watch on Youtube. Your children could make up a dance to go with the songs whilst learning their tables.
  6.  Card Games
    • There are many of these, but this is our favourite for Key Stage Two. Use a pack of playing cards. Take out the jacks, queens and kings. Take turns. Take a card and roll a dice. Multiply the two numbers. Write down the answer. Keep a running total. The first to go over 301 wins!
  7. Code Breakers
    • Take turns to think of a flower. Use an alphabet code, A = 1, B = 2, C = 3… up to Z = 26. Find the numbers for the first and last letters of your flower, e.g. for a ROSE, R = 18, and E = 5. Multiply the two numbers together, e.g. 18 x 5 = 90. The person with the biggest answer scores a point. The winner is the first to get 5 points. When you play again you could think of animals, football teams, countries, sports, etc.
  8. Telephone Challenge
    • Challenge your child to find numbers in your telephone directory or contacts where the digits add up to 42. Find as many as possible in 10 minutes. On another day, see if they can beat their previous total.
  9. Target 1000
    • Roll a dice 6 times. Use the six digits to make two three-digit numbers. Add the two numbers together. How close to 1000 can you get? You can change this number to support or challenge your child as appropriate. Try target 100 or target 10000 and roll the dice more or less often.
  10. Line It Up
    • You need a ruler or a tape measure marked in centimetres and millimetres. Use the ruler to draw 10 different straight lines on a piece of paper. Ask your child to estimate the length of each line and write the estimate on the line. Now give them the ruler and ask them to measure each line to the nearest millimetre. Ask them to write the measurement next to the estimate, and work out the difference. A difference of 5 millimetres or less scores 10 points. A difference of 1 centimetre or less scores 5 points. How close to 100 points can your child get?

Remember to regularly challenge your friends and teachers on TTRockStars. The internet is a great source of maths games such as these two sites and

Mathematics is all around us, so ask your child to find examples of maths in your home. A point for each example found. Thanks for reading, be safe and keeeeep counting!