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Becoming a Numeracy Ninja at Home!

Some people don't get maths - they think it's difficult and boring, and that they are never going to use it outside of school. Every single one of these statements is false! If taught in the right way maths can be easy, fun and is applicable to careers you never would have ever imagined. Bakers use maths to accurately measure ingredients, work out temperatures and convert measurements. Artists, landscapers, builders and designers use maths to measure materials, mediums, shapes and create patterns. Art critics use maths to aid in their analysis!

You will also end up using maths in your daily life whether you realise it or not - you use it when buying from the clearance section, on long car journeys, catching the bus or train, when comparing which detergent in Tesco's is cheaper per pence and of course, when doing your taxes. Maths is all around us, and so it is imperative that we are consistently practicing the basics. Most kids aren't fond of practicing sums all day, but have no fear - practice doesn't have to be so academically traditional! Practicing maths in an applied manner is a) loads of fun, and b) a great way to show kids how maths can be applied to real life.

Practicing your Ninja Skills!

1. Baking

We've talked about baking before, but that's because it is such a great way at practicing your maths skills whilst having fun - plus, you get a yummy cake or biscuit out of it. Easy ways of challenging your child with recipes is by having them convert metric measurements to imperial (or visa versa), having them batch cook which requires them to double or triple ingredients (or have them make half), or using the same ingredients in different measurements to create different foods (batter can make pancakes, crepes, Yorkshire pudding and more depending on the amount of each ingredient used.) They can also practice fractions by cutting up a pizza, pie or cake.

2. Building

As we mentioned earlier, builders and designers have to use maths a lot for measuring and creating shapes. Toys like Lego and K'nex allow children to exercise these skills including manipulation. A great teamwork challenge children do in school involves building a bridge from an array of materials that will allow a toy car to cross. The children have to use a mixture of maths and physics knowledge to build a strong bridge without wasting materials. Similar projects involve creating a vessel for an egg to fall from a height without cracking, or building a tower as high as you can without it collapsing.

3. Money Money Money

Money is always a fantastic incentive for kids, and once their savings have grown to a fair amount they will take immense joy in counting it. Giving them errands like working out which packet of crisps is cheaper, paying at the till and working out deals such as meal deals allows them to feel grown-up, trusted and exercises some valuable skills they will need when they finish their A levels. You don't even have to use real money - games like Monopoly (whilst the cause of some family feuds, so play with caution!) are fantastic for children as it educates them about renting, properties, taxes and gives them the opportunity to handle and share money with others.

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