Mental maths games for road journeys

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Key Stage 2 Maths By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Maths » Key Stage 2 Maths
Last updated: 17/07/2011
Tags: ideas for parents, maths games, mental maths, mental practice

I am often asked, by parents, how they can help their children practise mental maths skills. Of course, most children need to learn their basic number facts and multiplication tables, but making this interesting and fun is not always easy. Many parents keep a multiplication tape/CD in the car but this can grate after a while! (I know, I've done it!). Games are much more fun, especially when they throw up a truly random set of numbers.

Why not try the following ideas while you are travelling in the car:-

Looking at car number plates to create mathematical problems. You might see a number plate like this one:-

L 276 RAH

Depending on your child's age or ability you could ask the following questions...

1. Can you add the three digits together in your head? (2+7+6=15)

2. How close can you get to 20 by using the three separate digits and a selection of +,-,X and / (e.g. (2x7)+6)

3. What number do I need to add or subtract to get to the nearest multiple of ten/hundred etc?

4. What mathematical problems can we create with the three digits?  (E.g. 2 x 76, 27 x 6 etc.)

5. Multiply 276 by 2, 10, 5, 100, 1000

6. Divide it by 10, 100

7. What numbers can you make using those three digits and a selection of +, -, x and /

I would also suggest that you discuss with your child, how they solved the problem in their head. Thinking through mental calculation strategies is often the key to improving efficiency and accuracy with mental maths skills. If you have more than one child in the car at a time, let them get competetive - or get your child to challenge you!

Most important of all, have fun creating your own mental maths travel games.


Di Grantham B.Ed(Hons) Key Stage 2 Maths Tutor (Ipswich)

About The Author

I am a fully qualified teacher with 26 years of teaching experience, now working full-time as a professional independent private maths tutor. I am able to offer tailor made tuition for students of all abilities from age 7 to GCSE level.




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