Category Archives: Maths

Lego Maths with Twinkl

Maths that involves Lego is always popular in our house, so I was very pleased to see these Lego Addition worksheets available on Twinkl.  I printed out a selection of them, and though I was mainly aiming the activity at the younger children I guessed that the big boys would want a go too.

lego maths 1

Rabbit worked through two sheets very quickly and easily, so even for her I will need to devise a harder version.  The big boys did a sheet each for fun, and I have suggested they might like to make some more up, so perhaps they can do some for Rabbit.  I wasn’t sure if Tiddler would want to do it, but in fact he was very keen and it was perfect for him.  He was very happy sitting on my knee, matching real Lego bricks with the ones on the sheets and carefully counting the bumps.  I was very impressed by his counting, as he did them all with only one or two mistakes.  I had to help him with the writing – he is very confident writing one and zero, so he loved it when the answer was 10!  I wrote the other numbers for him and he traced over them.

lego maths 2

I had also printed off some multiplication worksheets for the big boys, as we have been working on times tables recently, and they did those as well.

lego maths 3

It was a very successful afternoon, with all four children working happily alongside each other.  Even though I was feeling really unwell at the time, I had one of those moments when I felt like I was looking from outside and realising how lucky I am.  People often ask me how I manage with so little time for myself, and it can certainly be hard to get anything (other than education) done.  But really I know it’s the best way for us.  I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

New Heinemann Maths Books – Review

In common with many home educators, my approach has become less structured over the years.  The children benefit so much from time to play, read, write, create and get wet and muddy outdoors, and I don’t want to interfere with that too much.  I haven’t quite gone down the autonomous route, though I think that’s more about me than the children.  I like a bit of structure, a bit of visible progress, but I’m well aware that the real learning happens mainly elsewhere.  So I try to strike a balance, and the children have plenty of freedom, but we do tend to do a bit of formal Maths and English (among other subjects) several days a week.

There are many ways to learn and practise Maths, and using workbooks is only one of them.  It’s probably not a good idea to get too hung up on them, but they have their place, and there are some really good ones among the droves of mediocre versions.  A lot of the most commonly available workbooks are too busy and cluttered looking, with very little content and generally a waste of money, so I was really pleased to be offered the chance to review these ones from the excellent New Heinemann Maths series instead.  They were sent to us by Junior Scholars – more about them to follow as we have since been to a lovely bloggers event at their shop in Watford.  But for now, back to the Maths books…

nhm maths books

Owl was sent the assessment book for (the end of) Year 5, which is the school year he would have just started, and he has completed the first few pages easily.  I rarely seek to compare their work with school levels, as I don’t think it matters in the long run, and it is much better for children to learn at their own pace.  However it is obviously nice to discover by chance that he seems to be well ahead!

nhm assessment bk 5

Monkey received the Year 3 assessment book.  Although he is not as confident as Owl, with a little encouragement he completed a couple of pages – he needed hardly any help, although he thought he did!  So I’m pleased with what he can do, and I just need to find some ways to help him believe in his ability.

nhm assessment bk 3

Rabbit has been given five year 1 activity books, and she chose to start working on one about Shape, Measure and Data Handling.  She completed the first section about 3D shapes easily and confidently.

nhm shapes

We had fun assembling a collection of 3D shapes from around the house too!

3D shapes

I am really pleased with the New Heinemann Maths series because they are simple, clear and easy to use, while covering a lot of detail.  Highly recommended 🙂

We were sent the workbooks by Junior Scholars free for the purpose of this review.


Maths with Lego Education and Twinkl

For this month’s education carnival, Jax has asked for posts about favourite educational resources.   That is such a huge topic that it’s hard to narrow it down.  There are so many resources that I love and use regularly.  Online, there is Twinkl for printable activities, Reading Eggs and other interactive learning programmes, and some great free sites such as Maths is Fun, BBC Bitesize and NASA kids to name but a random few.  Then there are books – fiction and non-fiction.  We have thousands of them, and I wouldn’t know where to start in picking our favourites.  Even if I could, that would definitely be a blog post of its own – or several.  We also have some good text books (Galore Park) that we use as a focal point for certain subjects, and a variety of workbooks which can be useful, though I wouldn’t recommend getting too hung up on them.  There is also a whole world of resources outside the home – museums, parks, National Trust properties, castles, beaches, woods, farms, libraries, sports clubs, home education groups and in our local area an ecology centre and lavender fields.

So I thought about all that for a while, then I started thinking about the subject-specific learning resources we have at home.  Our house is overflowing with art and craft materials and kits.  We have Mr Maker-style doodle drawers for paint, brushes, pots, collage materials, recyclable materials for models and so on.  Then we have several large boxes of Hama beads (Maxi and Midi) – we get ours from Craft Merrily.  We have Science kits, magnifying glasses, a microscope, bulbs, wires and buzzers, torches and magnets.  Then there are magnetic letters, letter tiles, flash cards, and games like Banangrams and Scrabble.  Maths is the subject for which we probably have the most specific resources.  We have magnetic numbers, number tiles, number templates, Maths card games and board games, Multilink cubes, base 10 materials, Cuisenaire rods, number fans, fraction magnets, counters, dominoes and dice.  It was really hard to choose what to write about, so I used the random selection method of picking the most recent photographs of educational resources in use – and here they are.

Lego Education

This is a Lego Education set (which we found on eBay) of number tiles, operation tiles and blank tiles and two white base boards.  They are also compatible with our two large Duplo base boards as well, which is very useful with four children.  We have used coloured stickers on the blank tiles so they can be used for matching and sorting activities.

Last week we got the set out for the first time in a while, and I gave it to the children without any instructions just to see what they would come up with.  I really enjoyed seeing the variety of ideas they had.  Owl and Monkey made lots of sums, using the four operations and the less than and more than symbols, then combined some of them to make a number crossword.  Owl then ordered the tiles from 0-9, started at 0 again and repeated the sequence over several times, and then observed the patterns of numbers reading down the columns.  Meanwhile Rabbit made a few sums but spent most of her time using the tiles with the coloured stickers on.  She sorted them by colour and then by number, and then matched the number tiles 1-6 to the corresponding sets.  She also used them to make pictures (a robot made out of a box, and an aeroplane!)

All of that was without any input from me, apart from explaining the less than and more than symbols to Monkey.  The next time we use them, I might add in a few suggestions of my own but I wanted to see what they came up with first.  These are some of my ideas:

  • Print off some Number Digit Cards from twinkl and use them as target numbers for the children to make sums using the letter tiles.
  • Use Duplo bricks and build towers, then place the number tile on top, or next to it, corresponding to how many bricks have been used.
  • Also with Duplo bricks, make towers of two colours (e.g. three red and seven green) and then use the tiles to write the sum (3+7=10) to practise number bonds.
  • Give the children a selection of number tiles to order, then follow up with a Number Ordering activity from twinkl.
  • Sort small objects (Hama beads, Lego bricks, Multilink Cubes, counters) into sets to match each number.
  • Use the tiles (and possibly bricks as well) to make bar charts.
  • Leave the boards lying around with some sums on and see who chooses to answer them!

Any more ideas welcome 🙂

Lovely educational stuff!

Today we have rediscovered these lovely Usborne activity cards.  I think Monkey has done some of the word puzzles on his own recently, but it is the first time in a while that we have done them together.  Owl and I did three of the Maths puzzles together (learning about co-ordinates, identifying even numbers up to 3 digits, and understanding probability.)  Then Monkey and I did two word puzzles ( a castle word search, and matching pairs of words with opposite meanings) and one space-themed Maths puzzle which involved addition and subtraction.

There is a great variety of themes and topics, and they range from fairly easy to very challenging.  Sometimes we have used them to reinforce particular topics, but it’s also fun to choose some at random as we did today.  Usborne has lots of similar sets, including Grammar and Punctuation cards which we didn’t get to today, but the boys were both keen to do some of them as well, so maybe we’ll fit that in tomorrow.  Anything that makes them excited about Grammar and Punctuation is good for me!