Engaging children in maths

27 January 2016


What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a classic question that every child thinks, writes and doodles about. Astronaut, scientist, builder, pilot - what do they all have in common? Maths.


It’s not breaking news that Maths is important but did you know why it is so important to engage primary school children in Mathematics?


“Mathematics introduces children to concepts, skills and thinking strategies that are essential in everyday life and support learning across the curriculum. It helps children make sense of the numbers, patterns and shapes they see in the world around them, offers ways of handling data in an increasingly digital world and makes a crucial contribution to their development as successful learner” - Mathematics in the Primary Curriculum, Haylock.


Many of our main life skills that can help children fulfil their dream job roles stem from a good grounding in maths. The key is ensuring that this grounding is made accessible and enjoyable. Combining maths, learning and play to give children these essential skills for adult life is something that primary schools need to get right. Children should be provided with the opportunities to be intrigued by maths, to become curious to raise their own questions about maths and to experience the satisfaction of solving a problem.


“Children delight in using mathematics to solve a problem, especially when it leads them to an unexpected discovery or new connections.” - Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers, Haylock.


Outdoor play and learning is the perfect way to engage primary children in mathematics. Applying the skills they are learning in the classroom to new challenges and problems in the playground is great for skill development, confidence boosting and sparking interest in the subject.


A study by Shiree Lee from the University of Auckland showed that children’s outdoor play included a number of categories of mathematical concepts. They were, in order of frequency of occurrence; space, number, measurement, pattern, shape and classification. Lee concludes that mathematics in outdoor play can lead to confident maths learners and that the curriculum needs to retain a sense of playfulness and fun so that children associate learning maths with good play experiences.


At Playforce we’ve been doing the sums and sometimes making maths fun just doesn’t add up. So we’ve been working hard behind-the-scenes to create a range of school playground equipment that improves children’s enthusiasm and understanding of mathematics and numeracy. Our new Mathematics and Problem Solving Range will help children get to grips with everything from geometry to fractions whilst taking part in outdoor, physical activity.


Get in touch with our team to book a consultation for your play space and find out how our new maths range can benefit your children.

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