Top Tips for Parents

Top Tips For Parents

Junior/Senior Infants
Sorting experiences provide opportunities for children to explore the properties of objects and to observe similarities and differences between them. Use a range of everyday contexts:

  • Sorting clothes after washing (T-shirts, jumpers, trousers, dresses)
  • Sorting cutlery at mealtimes (knives, forks, spoons)
  • Sorting toy vehicles (cars, buses, lorries)

Matching items establishes a one-to-one correspondence between them and is an important prerequisite skill in learning to count. Useful activities include:

  • Pairing socks, shoes, gloves
  • Putting one cup on each saucer, one lid on each saucepan
  • Giving each teddy a biscuit

Engaging children in a range of stories, rhymes and songs offers opportunities to explore number and counting and other mathematical ideas such as sequencing, size and quantity, shape and space.

  • Rhymes and songs such as ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’, ‘One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive’ (counting forwards) and ‘Ten green bottles’, ‘Five little ducks went swimming one day’ (counting backwards)
  • Stories such as ‘The Three Little Pigs’ (number), ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ (days of the week), ‘Where’s Spot?’ (position)

Middle Classes
Shopping experiences

  • Handling small amounts of money
  • Selecting coins to pay for goods
  • Working out the total cost of two or more items
  • Checking change
  • Comparing prices (which is more expensive?)
  • Talking about pocket money and whether there is enough saved to buy a particular treat


  • Ordering and sequencing events (when getting dressed, going to bed)
  • Setting the timer and counting down to bedtime
  • Talking about significant times (lunchtime, bedtime) and dates (birthdays, New Year)
  • Recording dates and appointments on a calendar or in a diary
  • Reading times, particularly on analogue clocks (clocks with hands)

Mathematics outdoors

  • Counting everything! (objects, actions, sounds)
  • Talking about directions (forwards, backwards, left, right)
  • Looking for patterns (bricks, windows, fences, paving)
  • Talking about shapes (road signs, buildings, statues)
  • Comparing sizes (items in the shopping basket, tools in the garden shed)
  • Exploring car number plates (odd and even numbers, numbers ending in 5 or 0)


  • Games involving matching, numbers and counting – Snap, Dominoes, Snakes and Ladders, hopscotch
  • Games involving calculating scores – Scrabble, bowling

Senior Classes
Developing financial capability

  • Solving problems involving money
  • Discussing special offers (half price, 3 for the price of 2, 20% off)
  • Talking about ‘best buys’ (Is it better to buy a pack of six or six individual items?)
  • Planning ahead in terms of saving and spending; prioritising needs and wants
  • Discussing foreign currency

Time and distance

  • Reading analogue and digital times
  • Calculations involving passage of time (The journey takes 2 ½ hours. When will we arrive? The cake needs 40 minutes to bake. When will it be ready?)
  • Reading timetables (24 hour times)
  • Estimating how long it will take to travel a certain distance
  • Working out average speeds

Mathematics at home

  • Measuring ingredients for a recipe
  • Looking at the nutritional information on food packaging
  • Being involved in DIY tasks (calculating how much curtain fabric is needed, how many floor tiles)
  • Exploring weather data (temperature, rainfall) before going on holiday
  • Planning a menu or a family outing (estimating quantities, working out costs)


  • Games involving strategic thinking/logic – draughts, chess, Connect 4
  • Games involving money transactions – Monopoly”

Useful Maths Websites.