Introducing Maths in the Early Years

Successful learning and practising of maths relies on a range of factors. This includes motivation, language ability, attention, attitudes, IQ and social and educational experiences.


Due to the complex nature of maths, kids learn at different paces and in different ways. Some require hands-on practise, others need repetition, whereas some just get it! What’s more, some kids will struggle more than others, and could have a specific learning difficulty with maths called Dyscalculia. Studies have shown children who do not have opportunities to practise maths may be at a loss when it comes to starting school. Moreover, it has been found that introducing maths in the early years is important for schooling success. 

Here are some tips for at home:

Play maths games!

Maths games make the process fun and motivating. This is because it helps kids develop number sense without the threat of grades or embarrassment they may experience in a classroom. Check out our full range here

ThinkFun Zingo! 1-2-3 Game

Introduce maths in everyday life!

Practising maths in context makes introducing maths in the early years more relevant to a child. This also provides an opportunity to deepen their overall understanding. These activities are helpful for home:

  • With your child, take a handful of marbles, paper clips, pencils – anything that can produce ‘a bunch of’. Ask your child to guess and write down an estimate of how many are in the bunch, then count to confirm. Counting while using their hands is perfect for kids who learn better with tactile validation.
  • For older children, open your wallet, separate coins and notes into their denominations and together add up the total amount of money
  • Collect a group of toys or items in their room and line them up from lightest to heaviest – then get out scales and weigh them to confirm their estimations.

Don’t worry if maths is not your strong suit!

A study of first and second grade children found those with maths-anxious parents tended to learn less maths and were more likely to have maths anxiety themselves –when their parents provided were involved frequently in helping with maths homework.

Though parents had great intentions, conveying their own attitudes towards maths can be detrimental to the child.  If an individual experiences maths-anxiety, their performance is affected as their working memory is consumed with worry and anxiety – and they don’t have enough left to do the actual maths. So, how can maths-anxious parents help their children at maths? Dr. Cooper suggests that parents of young children create a maths-positive environment by modelling “maths behaviour.” The game plan: Tell your child, “‘You have your maths homework, and I have mine,’” he said, and show them whenever you “count your change, calculate when dinner will be ready, look at prices in a grocery store.



Stearns, M. (2013). LEARNING MATH: Why kids get frustrated and what parents can do: Ideas to share with parents. The Education Digest, 78(5), 38.