Why growing sunflowers can help your child with maths!

Parents often ask me about how to get their child interested in maths because ‘they just don’t get it.’

Understandably the same parents go searching for a maths tutor to help bridge the ever growing gap between their child and his peers….what they don’t realise is there is a lot of help they can give at home with a little guidance.


  • Maths Language

Keep the maths language simple. Using words like ‘more’ for adding and ‘less’ for subtraction. Children can be introduced to this concept in any situation eg: more roast potatoes, more carrots, less sprouts! By using the same words over and over and using concrete materials the information slowly gets assimilated.

  • Establish Logical thinking

Before an individual can acquire good maths skills they must have the ability to think logically. A fun and easy way to introduce logic to young children is through activities such as baking a cake or growing sunflowers. Both examples are linear processes a child needs to follow the steps before achieving the desired results. By talking about each step before and after you are helping establish a logical thought process. This can be easily transferred to …organising their school bag, or what is needed for a sleep over.



  • Establish Sequential Thought process

This is very simple. All the parent needs to do is at the end of a day, in a relaxed manner, go through the events of the day and maybe discuss the events of the following day. By talking about daily activities, routines, a young child can quickly see how one thing follows another, an essential skills when understanding numbers implicitly. Parents tell me this activity is immensely rewarding because by replaying the events they are celebrating their day.


  • Check Memory

Short term memory is required for mathematical tasks. If you are adding sums in your head and your ‘short term working memory’ is poor, you will not be able to hold on to the first piece of information, the maths function and the next piece of information and work out the answer. Playing memory games is crucial! Playing a simple game of counting the number of red cars on the way home can be very tell telling. If your child constantly loses the count and this is coupled with poor retention of verbal instructions, then there is reason to be concerned. Having a poor working memory is one of the biggest problems individuals have affecting their maths abilities. By constantly stretching the memory capacity and specialist training, it can be strengthened.


  • Maths Talk

The language of maths is often a stumbling block. There are many words to describe each mathematical function. When your child has understood the basic concepts of ‘more,’ ‘less,’ it can be interchanged with forwards or backwards when counting. By doing this you are combining, logic, sequence and memory. Having the basics in place can also allow you to introduce more words to describe the same function ‘add,’ ‘together,’ ‘plus,’ and ‘addition’ are the same thing.


Finally learning should be fun. When we are relaxed we are predisposed to absorbing what we learn much easier. The funnier the delivery the quicker it will stick. If your child is struggling and your efforts are not gaining ground come and talk to me….I will put the fun back into Maths.


THE AUTHOR: Usha Patel is a Learning Difficulties Therapist . She works through using simple movements and exercises specified according to every child’s unique capability. Her focus lays on using non-invasive motor sensory techniques to help academic performance. Her exercise programmes are followed up by, research based, computer intervention programmes for reading, memory and auditory processing. Her newest project is introducing Bal-A-Vis-X (Balance, Auditory Vision Exercises) into schools via teacher training workshops. She is the first therapist in this country to bring this new school based exercise programme to the UK and can’t wait for it to take off!

You can contact Usha via her websites www.integratedbrain.co.uk and www.ravivpracticelondon.co.uk


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