- Use actual toys
- Make grocery shopping a maths game
- Play the maths measuring game
- Learn through baking and cooking
- Maths in nature
Play to learn has been used by professionals for years to help students (like you!) make sense of the world. This form of learning encourages creativity and imagination through maths lessons.
Now you might be asking yourself, “How can maths be a game? Maths lessons are supposed to be strict and studying maths is never meant to be something enjoyable.”
But we're here to tell you that there are so many ways to learn through maths. The following tips can show you how to play using items found in most households.
Take a look at these 5 tips below and learn to enjoy maths! 🤩
Tip 1: Use actual toys!
Do you have a set of Lego in your house? Or playing cards 🃏or dominoes?
What if we told you all these toys can be turned into play to learn toys?
Lego comes in sets that have pieces with different numbers of dots, which are then divided into smaller pieces. Using the Lego sets you already have can be a fun way to learn maths. In the image below, they are using Lego blocks to teach fractions, a difficult maths topic.
Don’t have any Lego? You can also learn fractions through playing cards or dominoes. Stacking either on top of each other creates another type of visual toy and play maths lesson that are more fun than learning through pen and paper.
Any other type of block or some other type of card with numbers on them can also be used.
Tip 2: Make grocery shopping a maths game 🛍️
Ever been grocery shopping with your parents? Yes, we know it’s boring. So how about turning the whole trip into a game, and learning to play with maths at the same time? 😉
Take a piece of paper and a pen or pencil 📝 and take notes of the prices of your favourite items (full numbers with cents if you are comfortable, just basic numbers if you are yet in the initial stages of your maths journey). This will be your own personal version of what is called shopping games while remaining entertained and doing maths as you go about your daily life.
This game can also be played when doing online shopping in a similar manner.
This maths game helps with addition, but also helps you learn more about everyday products. If you want to make this game even harder, use a budget and start allocating grocery expenses.
Tip 3: Play the maths measuring game📏
Have you ever wondered how long your study desk is? What about the ceiling? Using some simple items in your home can turn measuring anything into a play-based learning activity.
Place a ruler or measuring tape on a table in your home. Take a string or ribbon to measure the length.
Follow these instructions:
- Take the beginning of the string or ribbon and use that as your starting point.
- Lay the string or ribbon on the surface of the item from the beginning to the end.
- When the full length is taken up by the string or ribbon, hold the endpoint and hold it until you get back to your measuring tool.
Once you’ve made the measurements, lay the string or ribbon on your measuring tool to see the length! You can make a list of items 📝 before the game begins or let your parents or siblings decide what they want to measure.
Not only will this math game get your blood pumping as you run 🏃 around the house measuring their favourite items, but it will also allow you to be in charge of your own playful learning.
Remember, this is a maths game. So always think about your measurements from a mathematical perspective!
Tip 4: Play to learn through baking or cooking 🍳
Taking another look at measurement, we can include and utilise baking and cooking. After all, who does not like the idea of a sweet treat for dessert or helping mom and dad with cooking dinner? 🍝
You can be in charge of the scale, and do the maths calculations to bake the cake. Then, of course, there are the classic measuring spoons or jugs, which have numbers on them indicating the amount.
Using these numbers to learn maths can be a method for playful learning. Basic or complex maths can be incorporated easily as you go. Calculating the number of millilitres or grams in a cup, a tablespoon, and a teaspoon is also a way of testing memory while playfully dumping your measuring cups into the mixing bowls. The measuring spoons and cups become play to learn toys, as they once again help you with your day to day happenings. 😄
Find some basic conversions online or have fun researching the different types! Learn how the world bakes or cooks differently, and therefore how to use basic math differently.
Maths is often handled very differently across the world 🌍, and you must adapt to adding different conversions so that you are aware of the different systems across the world. You should learn these maths lessons way before any confusion in the future. 👍
Tip 5: Basic maths in nature and how to use it
This tip can be used not just on outings to parks, zoos, or nature reserves, but in your own garden as well.
When we look at nature we don’t just see leaves, grass and bugs. We see the potential for a maths lesson. You can use nature for something as simple as counting the number of legs on a bug 🐞, or playfully learning how shapes can come together in a leaf 🍀.
A very basic maths lesson would be counting the rings found within branches or tree stumps. 🌲. These rings represent how many years old a branch or tree is, with branches tending to be younger than the actual tree.
If you are older you should learn about The Golden Ratio and Fibonacci’s sequence. The Golden Ratio is used by sunflowers 🌻, pinecones, snail shells 🐌 and, in some instances, tree branches. This ratio is the first time you will learn about irrational numbers, a key part of maths. Other examples of irrational numbers, which are numbers that do not form any number pattern or repeat themselves in any way, is Pi, π. These numbers and sequences are so interesting if you want to learn more about maths.
Use these examples to play with maths alongside your siblings or parents.
Get creative and have fun!
Using play-based learning will grow your creativity, even during a subject as difficult as maths. You need to try and make your experience of learning maths more fun than just sitting in front of a book and writing out sums. 🥱Playful learning for maths can be fun if done the right way.
Want to explore play-based learning further? Book a free maths trial lesson here.