Make learning fun with this Super Sorting Pie that holds coloured fruit counters for students to sort, count and learn early math skills and concepts.

“Oh no, not more maths,” is a common cry echoed by children in homes and schools across the country.

Many children struggle with maths. They are unable to grasp key mathematical concepts and, therefore, develop a negative view of the subject because they feel that they “can’t do it”.

Learning numeracy in a fun, hands-on way, particularly in the fundamental early years, makes maths more meaningful for children. They will be more likely to develop positive attitudes toward maths as they learn and understand key numeracy skills and concepts. Children soon discover that they can do it as they begin to recognise numbers, patterns, sequences, shapes and colours, gain the ability to sort and begin to construct and solve equations. With this new-found confidence and practice comes stronger performance and mathematical aptitude.

Using and understanding symbols is one way that children become mathematically literate, effective contributors to and communicators within their world.

As their first attempts at communicating, using their own forms of mark making from birth, are replaced with more traditional and universally used symbols as they grow and develop, they learn that symbols are a powerful means of communication.

Educators aid this development when they engage children in deriving meaning from symbols. Experiences and discussions that involve symbols such as numbers, time, money and musical notation enable children to create and communicate meaning.

Children’s identity, sense of wellbeing and connectedness with their world is strengthened when they can understand and respond effectively, are able to express their ideas and be understood. They become confident and involved learners as they experience the advantages and joys of comprehension.

By the time children reach kindergarten, they should have a solid grounding in mathematical concepts.

Key mathematic skills to start school:

  • Numbers: Be able to recognise numbers and begin to sequence numbers 1-10 or even to 20
  • Patterns: The ability to identify and understand order and patterns
  • Shapes and colours: Begin to recognise shapes and colours and become aware of shapes and colour in the environment
  • Sorting and sequencing: The ability to sort by size, shape and colour as children become aware of measurement and position
  • Time: Begin to show an awareness of time

To help children gain an understanding of maths at home, parents need to think about numeracy in a different way and enable children to grasp mathematical concepts through play.

Maths play ideas at home:

  • Play Money: A set of play money can be used in an imaginative shop, market, café or restaurant
  • Math Manipulatives: Math manipulatives help children to count, sort and visualise math concepts such as size, space, sequence and patterns. They are also great to make towers and structures out of rods, blocks, bricks, tiles and cubes, create stories using counting bears or friendly farm animal counters or sort and count the fruit into the pie
  • Games: Assemble a jigsaw puzzle, thread beads, play with blocks or cars, play memory and matching games, roll dice, use chalk to create a numbered hopscotch course, play snap with money cards matching the coin value with the cent and dollar value, return to retro board games and play monopoly
  • Art: Through creating their own masterpieces using paint, pencils and play-doh children learn to identify colour, shape and gain an awareness of size and space
  • Maths in everyday: count the stairs to bed, bake a cake, cookies or slice, help to sort the washing by matching socks, tidy toys by putting similar items together or sequencing size, unpack the dishwasher putting small objects on top or in front of big objects, matching lids to saucepans, use mathematical language to describe objects such as – heavy, light, empty, full, long, short, big, small or ask questions to identify colour, size or order, set the dinner table or places for a teddy bear picnic or dolls high tea.

For numeracy teaching ideas view our classroom ready mathematics activities.