What is incidental maths? Incidental maths is maths that you can make happen as you go about your every day life. For example, you may be sitting at the dinner table and everyone has a drink. As you're eating dinner why don't you ask a few questions about the drinks? How much water do you think is in your glass? Why? So, if you put all our glasses together how much water do you think we'd have altogether? If I drank half my water, how much would I have left?
This is quite a difficult thing to describe as every child is at a different level and every child's day is different. As a parent it is your chance to really have some fun with the maths and just let it happen within the day, without it being a big thing. You will just have to grab the opportunities and make them work for you and your child.
Below I have described some of the more obvious scenarios that could happen to most of us to get you going and inspire you to do more. I have tended towards the higher level of student as sometimes it is harder to think of more challenging activities. I hope those of you with younger children can find ways to make the suggestions simpler. I would love to hear some of the things that you do end up doing as your incidental maths.
Car registration plates - how many different numbers can you create with what you see. Write down the next 6 plates you see and use the digits to create the biggest number you can or the smallest. can you take the smallest away from the biggest? Or add all 6 numbers together, or find the smallest of the six and take it away from the biggest of the six.
Numbered lamp posts, bollards etc. - Have you seen anything on a local walk with numbers that you can add, take away, multiply, spot the pattern in?
House numbers - add them, take them away, swap the numbers around to make the biggest / smallest etc.
Water Play - mine have a tea set they play with in the bath so more questions about how many cups would fill the teapot? or the pan? How many spoonfuls fill the cup? How many cups fill the bucket? How much water does it take to water the plants, how can you work it out?
Suitcases - how big is my suitcase? Does it follow the airlines regulations? If not, by how much is it out? Whose suitcase is the biggest? Heaviest? What makes it the heaviest?
Calendar - Have a calendar displayed with the monthly activities on so you can discuss how many days until........, how many weeks until........, when you are next going swimming.
Holiday - Record what we do each day on holiday and then create a table showing how many shops we went into, how many times we went swimming, how many museums we visited, how many restaurants we went to?