How to help your child develop a love of Maths 

Written by SENsational Tutors Ltd.  Parents can register for FREE here

Numbers are intangible. You can see numbers on the number plate of your house or your car, but these are numerals. Numbers can be found everywhere. They are all around us and understanding them can be taught through multiple techniques. What do numbers mean to a young child? Do they mean anything at all?

To make numbers accessible to children, it is important to see and touch a representation of a number before reading and writing a numeral. Here are 3 simple techniques to help your child with counting and using numbers:

1) Counting using your fingers       

Numbers are on your fingers. Counting with fingers has been used for a long time. The problem, however, is with contrasting research which confuses us too much.

Some research has shown that counting with fingers shouldn’t be used with young children; children were and sometimes are discouraged from using their hands when learning maths.

However, some studies found that children who count with their fingers and play games, such as dominoes can do better in maths.

So, the question is: “Do I need to encourage my child to use fingers when counting?”

The answer is – why not? You don’t always have apparatus or counters to hand when you are walking with your child or sitting in the car or on the bus. If your child is counting and using fingers, this is perfectly ok. Try asking your child the following questions:

How many fingers do you have?

How many fingers do you have on one hand?

Show me one finger and what is one more than one?

Don’t be afraid of using fingers. When counting with your fingers you can ask so many mathematical questions.




2) Counting using the ten frame

The ten frame is a graphic tool which allows children to see numbers. The ten-frame template contains frames with ten squares and small counters with two different colours. The frame catches the attention of children and helps them with adding and taking away numbers.

It is a simple tool which can even be made at home and can help children to learn number facts up to ten and beyond.


Ten frame activities will allow children to think automatically about numbers less than ten in the context of the number 10. You can try the following activities:

How can you use the ten frame? 

If you will look at the samples, you can see that I have 5 counters which I can arrange differently

3+2 = 5             3+ 2 = 5 5 + 0=5


Look below. Now I can use two different colours. I used red and blue, but you can use whichever colours you like most.

7 red counters + 2 blue counters  = 9 counters

7+ 2 = 9     2 + 7= 9 9 + 0 = 9

If you like you can do the same using your fingers: +    =9       


3) Counting using Numicon

Numicon uses a sequence of shapes and offers real images for numbers. This helps children from an early age to play and explore. It also teaches a mathematical understanding of numbers.

Children can see and touch each number. It is a multisensory approach which makes numbers real.

Numicon encourages children to explore mathematical concepts by using imaginary and actual apparatus at the same time.

Any learning can be fun, as long as it is interactive.

Immediately you can see:

  • that one is smaller than ten;
  • then you can count how many ones there are in ten;
  • two is smaller than ten;
  • how many twos there are in one ten;
  • numerical patterns;
  • odd and even numbers;

and many more.

The good thing about Numicon is that it can be used by children from a very young age, first as a toy that can be played with in water or with playdoh, and then as a powerful tool that teaches us about numbers and numerical patterns.

In maths, children can learn through playing, exploring, asking questions and making predictions. The success is determined by the child’s confidence, determination and effort. Most of all, it is essential to have a positive mindset towards maths despite making mistakes. It is also important to create the sense of an enjoyable challenge. 

This blog was written by our tutor Longina, a qualified Teacher, with MA in Education, Postgraduate diploma in Specific Language Difficulties, Diploma of Social Work with over 30 years experience. You can see her full tutor profile here

At SENsational Tutors Ltd, we aim to inspire a love of learning through fun and exciting activities. Our tutors specialise in supporting children and young adults ages 3-25 in their Maths and English learning. We offer tailor-made behavioural support packages in London to transform the wellbeing of children and parents. This can be combined with additional learning support, if necessary.

Register here to receive information about our FREE webinars!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.