Problem Solving Maths Activities during the summer holidays

We have been having a lot of fun over the last week, either staying at home or out and about. I wanted to put together some of the maths activities we have been doing that focus on problem solving. Isabel is really keen to count and is interested in numbers, but problem solving is a great way to get her really thinking mathematically with a variety of games. These are games you can copy or adapt slightly to include your child’s interests.

Game 1- Make a Car Park

Using blocks and mega blocks we decided to construct a car park for the cars. Isabel needed to measure the cars and build a space that would be wide enough and tall enough to fit the cars in. Isabel then repeated this for the next two cars. Once she had done that she built up the rest of the car park making an entrance and an exit again wide enough and tall enough to fit in the cars. The road also needed to be wide enough for the cars to drive along. Isabel loved this challenge and after a little wobble where she thought she couldn’t do it, she was off and spent ages measuring and adapting. The most important lesson she has learnt from activities like this is to understand that there is not always a right answer and that she may need to get things wrong a few times before she finds the solution. Once she had finished she labelled the car park and then labelled the cars and the spaces. Once Megan came home from nursery she loved playing with it and it was great for her to match the numbers 1,2 and 3. She loved lining up the cars and counting them in order.

Game 2- Make a homemade pom pom marble run

To make this game you need some toilet rolls and kitchen rolls. I challenged Isabel to make a marble run. I taped the first roll to the side of the kitchen counter and placed a bucket a bit further along. I asked Isabel to tape the remaining rolls in a way so that when she put a pom pom in the top roll it would end up in the bucket. Isabel enjoyed this challenge and it was great to see her trying to work out which was the best way to tape them down, she would test it and then change the position. She did a really great job especially as Megan & Charlie were trying to ‘help’ as well! Once she had a successful marble run and it worked I gave them some tweezers to pick up the pom poms and put them down the tubes. They all loved it and continued to play with it on and off for a good couple of days.

Game 3- Baking

All of the children love cooking and would bake every day if they could. This time I adapted a recipe for biscuits to make it easy for Isabel to read. She then needed to read the recipe and make the biscuits all on her own. She was so pleased to be ‘in charge’ and took the responsibility seriously. The point of this activity is to encourage Isabel to weigh out the ingredients correctly, if she didn’t weigh it correctly then the biscuits wouldn’t work. Megan and Charlie also got involved, Megan was in charge of the milk and Charlie helped to roll out the biscuit mix and eat it 🙂


Game 4- Using Money

At this time of year there are lots of family fun days and local village fairs around. These are great places for children to have a go at managing money because you can have a go at games like ‘hook a duck’ for 20p a time. If you can give your child £1 in 10p coins they can have a go at counting out the money. We went to a village fair and the children had a great time. Isabel loved the ‘sock’ game which was 30p a go, she was able to count out 3 10p coins each time and it also helped her to see how each time she played her money went down. We were having so much fun I forgot to take a picture-oops!

Game 5- Top trumps

This is a firm favourite in our house. Isabel has loved playing top trumps for over a year. When we first played it she needed help to read the stats and she would say the numbers individually such as 5 and 4 for 54. Now however she is a whizz at the game. It is a great way for her to practice reading numbers up to 100 as well as understanding the number system by knowing which number is higher or lower.

I hope you enjoy having a go at some of these games and hopefully you find them as much fun as we did 🙂

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