Mathematics and numeracy at home

As your child’s first teacher, you play an important role in helping develop their numeracy skills from an early age.

Numeracy skills give children an important start to their learning and development. They also help prepare them for daily life at all ages. For example, in handling money and problem solving.

Why numeracy is important

Numeracy is more than numbers. For example, numeracy helps us:

  • understand and use numbers and other mathematical ideas in everyday life
  • recognise and use shape
  • work out the chance of something happening
  • understand the data we see in the media.

Numeracy is necessary for everyday living. From daily activities like telling the time, cooking and setting the table to more difficult tasks such as understanding mobile phone plans, planning a trip, reading a map and understanding timetables.

As children and young people move through life stages the everyday numeracy demands become more complex.

Employers see numeracy as important in the workplace. Research shows that higher numeracy skills lead to higher levels of health and wellbeing and other benefits such as better decision making and financial independence.

Resources for parents

Numeracy guide: numeracy at home

 This interactive online guide:

  • explains the difference between numeracy and mathematics
  • helps your child to learn numeracy and mathematics at home
  • identifies and talks about some common myths about maths
  • suggests helpful activities you can do with your child.

There are also a range of fun activities that you can try together based on your child’s interests and experiences:

  • Birth to Level 2 suggestions for children up to about 8 years of age, including activities for cooking, travelling, reading, shopping and exploring.
  • Levels 3 - 8 suggestions for children and early adolescents including numeracy in the kitchen, travelling, reading, shopping, our neighourhood, games and sports.
  • Levels 9 and 10 activities for young people including exploring sustainability, healthy living, shopping, home improvements, gardening, travel and natural phenomena.

Everyday maths animations

Animations to help to engage young children in conversations about mathematics and numeracy in everyday activities:

Around the house

Outdoors

At the supermarket

The animations include closed caption (CC) translations in:

Encouraging maths in early years learning

Read more about the key role of families in eleven games and activities for parents to encourage maths in early learning.

Maths Everyday - frieze

Numeracy focused activity for each day of the week, including suggestions and questions to prompt conversations with young children.

Maths Everyday - Frieze (pdf - 633.99kb)

Factsheets - maths tips for early childhood

Activities to bring maths into your child’s day.

Maths in the early years factsheet - available in different languages

The Victorian maths challenge (VMC)

A fun way to engage in real life mathematics. Take a look at the activities and explore and solve real life problems together. Suitable for school aged children.

Practical advice for parents, families and carers

 

Additional resources, activities and supports

Evidence and research

Read more about numeracy and mathematics research.

References

  • Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical mindsets. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset. Great Britain: Robinson.
  • Knaus, M. (2013). Maths is all around you: Developing mathematical concepts in the early years. Albert Park, VIC: Teaching Solutions.
  • MacDonald, A. (2018). Mathematics in early childhood education. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.