Teachers work hard to make sure that their students understand the lessons they are giving but sometimes the best way to encourage learning is to shake things up a little. There are many ways to do this but one of our favourite ways is to go outside and turn the learning into a game. Fresh air and hands on activity work wonders for children. Many don’t learn very well by just listening to the information so this approach could have a great impact on them. Take a look at some of the fantastic games to help children learn maths below.
As well as being good fun, hopscotch can help children to learn to count, as they will say the numbers as they jump or hop onto those squares. When a child throws a stone or beanbag onto one of the squares and skips it, they will be working their brain to recognise which number they should miss and gain a greater understanding, rather than repeating a string of numbers out of habit.
We have several types of hopscotch available, including times table hopscotch, where the numbers are replaced by the multiple of that number and another, e.g. for the six times table, the numbers read ‘6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54, 60’, so you can find the right difficulty level for your students.
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
What’s the Time Mr. Wolf is a great maths playground game that will encourage the children with their counting, particularly as they are counting out loud. If you’re worried that some children aren’t counting out loud, you can introduce counting pairs or threes so that you can encourage them without putting shy children directly in the spotlight. For slightly older children, make the numbers more difficult like ‘3 minus’ 1 o’clock instead of calling ‘2’ o’clock.
If you want to make sure that the children’s strides and varying senses of fairness aren’t causing issues in the game, you should try one of our What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? playground markings, which have clearly-defined footsteps.
Make the Time
Draw a large clock on the playground using some chalk (or invest in one of our long-lasting clock playground markings which will be great for future lessons and year groups), and instead of marking the hands, you can use the children to take turns lying on the clock to make the time. If they aren’t yet at the stage for learning the time, they can still use it as a number finding exercise.
You can demonstrate the passing of time by getting one child to act out the part of the hour hand and the other the minute hand. Have them walk around the clock (with the hour hand child slightly further in to avoid accidents) at the correct speed so that every time the hour child moves one number, the minute hand child has done a whole lap. This also helps with their co-ordination and will help the children to understand the relationship between the two hands.
Our Snakes and Ladders playground marking is a great learning opportunity as the children will need to count to the next space. You can also use it for helping to teach younger children their numbers. With small groups, try calling out a number and getting the children hop or jump to that number as quickly as they can. When they become too advanced for the game, throw in multiplications and additions, where the children are looking for the answer to the sum.
Whatever games you choose to help with maths lessons, mixing up the lesson structure can help a great deal in terms of helping your pupils retain the information. If you would like to discuss your requirements for maths playground markings, we’d love to hear from you.