Number Fun

Times Tables Mania

The media has been alive with the topic of times tables. When, why and how children should learn their times tables is being debated. I certainly remember trying to learn mine, which like many Mathematical concepts, I found tricky. They are super useful to know and allow you to access many other concepts more easily. The first steps come with counting in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s, a skill which may well be introduced to children as young as 5. Formal multiplication teaching tends to start in Year 2 and gradually builds each year, with expectations to know all of them by the age of 11, if not before. I often get asked for ideas and ways to help times tables practice at home and with all the recent newspaper articles, I’ve been researching a huge range of resources out there. I hope you find some of these useful, just remember your child may well need a variety of tools to aid their learning style. Little and as often as possible will certainly help your little learner master their multiplication skills. You never know you may even enjoy revising them yourself!Times tables magnets

Online Games & Apps:

  • a perfect website designed for parents supporting learning at home. Plenty of multiplication online worksheets. Subscription prices vary.
  • lots of online games.
  • lots of online games.
  • Squeebles Times Tables 2 App: a well reviewed app using a variety of skills in different games. Available at The App Store, £2.99.
  • Gurgle Numbers App: a mixed Maths app with a multiplication focus. Used in lots of Primary Schools. Available at The App Store, 79p.


  • The Terrific Times Tables Book by K.Petty: pop ups, great illustrations, chants and fun ways to learn. Available on Amazon, £1.99.
  • Harry’s Magic Tables by S.Moraghan: a book whose selling point says ‘teach your child their times tables in as little as a week!’ Available on Amazon, £4.99.
  • Multiplication Rules! by Penny Topsam: a jam packed activity book. Available at, £8.99.
  • I Can Learn Times Tables by N.Baxter & R.Elliott: a magnetic board book with fun illustrations to aid regular practice. Available on Amazon, £9.99.

CD’s, Games & Other Fun ideas:Times Tables bracelets

  • Musical Times Tables CD: a new soundtrack for the family! Available at, £5.99.
  • Sing Your Times Tables CD: a new soundtrack for the family! Available on Amazon, £4.99.
  • various range of times tables laminated mats, great as place mats or for a desk area. £3.99 each.
  • Ladybird Homework Helpers: Times Tables flashcards with lots of hints and tips for parents. Available on Amazon, £5.99.
  • Multiplication fortune teller: make and create this old fashioned paper wonder, using numbers and multiplication problems on each segment.
  • Magnetic Times Tables Pack by National Numeracy Strategy: great for the fridge, radiators or any magnetic surface. Available on Amazon, £4.99.
  • Times Tables Snap by The Green Board Game Co: an easy game to travel with. No one is too old for snap. Available on Amazon, £4.00.
  • Spider Maths Boardgame: focusses on addition, subtraction & multiplication mental maths concepts, ages 5+. Available on Amazon, £8.95.
  • Zoobookoo Cube Book: great for fidgety fingers and learning times tables at the same time! Available on, £6.99.
  • Multibandz: super cool times tables wristbands in different colours. Shipped from Australia through, £5.99.
  • Posters: many available to put up in prominent places at home. Try WHSmiths, pound shops or Staples.

Ready, Steady, Cook!

This week I’ve been madly busy preparing for Master L turning the big 1! As you read this he will be no doubt enjoying the wrapping paper and boxes more than his presents. We will be celebrating with a traditional children’s tea party. Therefore I have put on my apron and been baking away. It made me realise how easy some recipes really are especially to do with children. I look forward to the day Master L can stand next to me, help me measure and most importantly lick the bowl! Cooking with your child is not only great fun but can also help with measuring skills, number recognition, reading recipes, communicating skills and teamwork. Below is a super simple biscuit recipe, which I’ve used to create a ‘special’ party bag present for Master L’s friends. I hope you enjoy your ‘Friday Treat’ this week, I know we certainly will.

Basic Biscuits: (Depending on size of cutters, but approx 20)Cooking 1


  • 250g (8oz) unsalted butter- room temperature
  • 125g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 300g (10oz) self-raising flour


  1. Grease some flat baking trays or use grease proof paper.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together until it is smooth (I used a food processor as super quick).
  3. Add in the flour and mix again until combined (Again just use a food processor if in a rush).
  4. Roll out mixture on a well floured surface to about 2cm thick.
  5. Use your cutters to create all your shapes, lay them on baking trays well apart from each other, as they do spread out whilst cooking. I put about 4 on each tray, so cooked in batches. You can keep putting the leftover bits of mixture together and re roll, keep adding flour to help it not stick to you or thBiscuitse surface!
  6. Place in oven at 180 degrees for about 10-15mins.
  7. If they lose their shape in the oven, do not panic just re-use your cutter on them as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave them on the baking tray for 5-10mins till they harden slightly, then using a fish slice place them carefully on a cooling rack.
  8. Leave to cool before decorating with icing pens, icing and decorations!

A Homemade Countdown

I am a massive lover of Christmas, but can’t quite believe how the preparation creeps into Autumn more and more each year. Having said that, I know its still November, but not long till we can start our countdown to Christmas. Advent calendars are a superb way of using numbers in a meaningful and educational way for children; number recognition, counting forwards, adding 1 more and introducing the concept of time. I quote one avid follower talking about her 3 year old. “Last Year the advent calendar introduced her to numbers, we’d show her the number she was looking for and she’d try and find the matching peg. This year she can identify a lot of numbers and is constantly pointing them out when she sees them.”

I am pretty traditional when it comes to Advent Calendars and my godchildren receive a paper rather than chocolate version. This being Master L’s first Advent, he too will receive a paper calendar; however I have now been inspired by the homemade options and as he grows older I look forward to becoming creative with him! I thought I would share some homemade options, which I particularly like and hope you find one that inspires that creativity to make together before the nearing 1st December.

Sock calendar  advent_calendar_jar  Matchbox calendar advent3 Contact Marketing/ Press Office: 01202 596100

Sock Calendar:

Jar Calendar:

Matchbox Calendar:

Paper Cup Calendar:

Wooden Tree Calendar:


Apps of the Moment!

The App world is vast and can be very overwhelming. There are many learning opportunities from Apps, but I often have parents asking which ones really are worth downloading and spending money on? The Apps below I often use as a learning tool and their content is not only excellent, but children love them.

For early Reading and Writing:

Hip Hop Hen AppHip Hop Hen (£1.99 each or £3.99 for bundle)- 3 superb App’s focusing on sound flashcards, letter tracing and letter jigsaws. A brilliant App for an introduction to early phonics for pre-school children. English App and English accents. We cant wait for their new CVC (consonant vowel consonant) word App to be released in 2015.

Ladybird Phonics iconLadybird I’m Ready for Phonics! (£2.99)- very much progressive, so you have to complete levels before moving on. I particularly like the ‘Brilliant Blending’ and ‘Super Segmenting.’ English App and English accents. The levels cover many aspects of early reading skills. A very thorough App.

Cbeebies appCBeebies Storytime (free)- a lovely free storytime download. I like the different options of the story either being read to or you having a go yourself.

For early Maths:

Primary Maths appMaths Primary (Lite- free Main- £4.99)- currently I have the Lite version, which I have been very impressed with and I feel an upgrade coming up! Activities can be linked to your child’s year group and the mathematical language is superb. Covers all areas of the curriculum in a fun and varied way. English App and English accents.

Count to 20 appMaths Practice- Count to 20 (£3.99)- brilliant for basic counting skills, matching amounts to a number and emphasising the need for accuracy. English App and English accents.

Finger digits appLittle Digits (£1.99)- a fun sensory based app for counting. All completed using the touch of fingers. Counting, simple addition and subtraction skills. American App with American accents.

Moose Maths appMoose Math (£1.49)- a fun App for children to practise maths skills. Early counting, matching and number recognition are all covered. Very child friendly characters and animations. American App with American accents.

Fine Motor Skills:

dexteria-jr-iconPreschool Motor Skills (£1.99)- a must have app for developing fine motor skills. Practise finger movements through, squashing, pinching and tracing. I think my favourite has to be ‘Pinch the Pepper!’


All available on the App Store.

Embracing Maths at Home

If you are like me you have negative memories of Maths at school! Even if you find it hard to believe Maths can be fun at school and home. Maths concepts are all around us. Many parents think that Maths only involves number concepts. The curriculum not only involves number, but also shape, space and measure.

Here are some hands-on top tips to get those little learners and you engaged, enthusiastic and most importantly having fun with all areas of Maths at home.

Counters: you don’t need to buy expensive counters, anything can be used: pasta, raisins, buttons, playdoh, pencils, sticks, leaves, conkers, peas, pebbles, cheerios, bottle tops etc.

Counting: count going up and down stairs, count favourite objects by lining them up, count birds, trees, leaves etc in the garden. Count forwards and backwards, don’t forget a ‘BLAST OFF’ when counting backwards! Count out correct number of knives and forks, cups, plates etc for laying the table for meals.Block number line

Number recognition: make number cards (or buy flashcards online),  make numbers out of playdoh, write numbers using shaving foam, sand, paint or bath crayons. Set up a number treasure hunt around the house using numbers written on post it notes. Be a number detective, find numbers at home or in your local environment- on toys, in books, door numbers, shop shelves, road signs and number plates.

Ordering: make a number washing line, write numbers on blocks and build a number line, order objects or toys into sizes, heights or lengths.

Sorting activitySorting: create a sorting box or basket full of objects and see how your child chooses to sort them. Categories you can encourage: colour, size, type, likes / dislikes.

Matching: make a ladybird or spider template, say a number and your child can make spots or legs to match. Label empty bottles with a number, children to match the correct lid to the bottle or fill the bottle with the correct amount of objects. Make a cheerio, bead or Lego tower to match a given number. Get your child tidying and sorting laundry- match up pairs of shoes or socks!

Patterns: finger paint colour patterns, potato printing shape patterns, make necklaces or bracelets using coloured beads, make Lego or wooden block colour towers.

Measuring: try baking together- read measuring jugs or scales. Measure length and height of objects using a tape measure or non-standard units such as the table is ’10 plastic cups long.’

Songs: there are many to choose from, but here are a few of our favourites- ‘5 Little Ducks went Swimming One Day,’ ’10 Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall,’ ’10 Fat Sausages Sizzling in a Pan,’ ‘One, Two Buckle my Shoe,’ ‘12345, Once I caught a Fish Alive’ and ‘Ten in a Bed.’

Time: early elements include talking about days of the week, months of the year, major events or festivals and most importantly their birthday. Calendars and countdowns are fun and visual for little ones. Giant egg timers (available online or at Early Learning Centre) are a fun visual for challenges such as ‘How many star-jumps can you do in a minute?’ or ‘Can you beat the timer to tidy away your toys?’ Activity examples

Money: coin recognition, let them play with coins, set up a little shop or stall for playing with, talk about what money is and how it is used.

Shape: go on a shape hunt, find shapes around the house, make shapes using playdoh, wool, pasta or sticks, make pictures using shape stencils or draw around shapes to make shape stencils.

This post was written for the My Baba blog. Do visit for great parenting tips.


House Numbers

We live in a number rich world, so why not enjoy some fun activities with your child in order to help them recognise numbers? House numbers are a fun and easy way to expose all aged children to numbers so close to home.door numbers

Simply point out numbers, get children to guess the door number, follow the numbers by counting up and down and for older children introduce odds and evens, counting in 2’s and simple place value. Walking along the street will never be the same again!