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Handy Tips for Helping Improve your Child’s Mental Arithmetic Skills

31st July 2015

As your child grows older and moves through the school years, they will no doubt be exposed to many different subjects; from art and technology to English and history. However, there are certain subjects that can be recognised as more important than others, such as English, maths and science.

Helping your child get to grips with these subjects from an early age will stand them in good stead for later on in life, and in this article, we’re going to explore different ways you can help improve your child’s mental arithmetic skills.

Improving your child’s knowledge of numbers can not only help teach them valuable life skills that they can put into practice (such as checking they have received the right change after buying something) but it can also improve their memory which could help when learning other subjects too!


For those of you with very young children, an abacus could help teach them how to count numbers. Get your child to copy your actions by sliding the same number of beads to one side as you have done. After this, they can start creating patterns in numbers.

Mystery game

Count out a certain number of items (these can be coins, marbles, counters, whatever you can find) and get your child to count them out with you. Ask them to close their eyes and then hide a few of them. Then, when your child opens their eyes again, ask them to work out how many you have taken away. This will teach them the basics of subtraction.

Counting money

Learning how to add up money is another great and practical way to get your child ready for using their maths skills in real life. Ask them to count out, 80p for instance, using a combination of only certain coin types, such as 10p’s, 20p’s, 50p’s and 5p’s.
Times tables

Encourage your child to start learning their times table as early on as possible. Start with the easy ones, such as 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. Once they have grasped the easier ones, help them draw out a multiplication table, with 1-12 across the top and down the side, then teach them how to fill out the grid until it its complete. Then you can start discussing patterns within the table and easier ways to work the answers out.

Lower or higher

Pick a number between 1- 50 (or more depending on how old your child is) and get your child to guess what your number is.  After every incorrect guess, you should tell your child whether it is higher or lower, so they have to work out which direction to guess in next.

Addition and subtraction games

There are various online games your child can play to help improve their number skills. Interactive games make the learning process much more fun and can engage your child far better than old-fashioned pen and paper.

Pairs of 10 – pair all the numbers that add up to ten.
Quick fire – challenge your little one to work out the subtraction sums as quickly as they can before the time runs out.
Frog crossing – work out the best way to help the frog cross over the stepping stones by solving the maths puzzles.
Sorting the post – help the postman sort his post into the right letter boxes by working out the sums, and posting them into the correct numbered post box.

So, if you want to help give your child a great head start, or keep their mental arithmetic skills up over the school holidays this summer, then give some of our activities a go!

For more information about our childcare services in Nottingham and Mansfield, please give us a call today and our team here at Tiny World will be more than happy to help.

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