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Ideas to develop problem-solving skills

At school, children will be expected to identify patterns and predict the next item in a sequence. Isabel Thomas has some simple ways of reinforcing these concepts when she’s out and about with her family.

Watch children try out Isabel’s top tips for developing problem-solving skills in this short film, or read Isabel’s suggestions below.

 

My children love collecting found objects like acorns, stones and shells. We started storing them in jars and using them for maths games.

Children are really good at creating their own games with small objects. They might start by counting and sorting things into groups. Ask questions to get them thinking and solving simple problems.

Older children can use groups of objects to practise their times tables.

If you come back from a beach with a collection of shells or stones, trying adding numbers or dots with a marker pen. You can use them for all sorts of simple games. It’s much more fun than flashcards – and cheaper too!

Maths isn’t just counting and sums of course. Children need to get good at thinking visually, and solving problems with patterns and shapes.

You could make a group of objects, and ask your child to spot the odd one out. They’ll have to think about colour, shape, pattern and size.

Make a simple pattern using shells, twigs or stones. Ask your child what comes next.

These are all really useful activities to do over and over again. Doing them outdoors or with objects your child has found themselves makes maths feel special, and fun!

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