Savile Park Primary School

Headteacher: Mrs J Boylan

Number and Place Values

Understanding what numbers mean is essential for learning maths. This is because knowing what each digit in a number is worth – place value – is the basis of our entire number system.

At the end of primary school, your child will sit mandatory tests in arithmetic and mathematical reasoning. Although this might seem a bit daunting, children build up their maths skills gradually. Your child will progress from simple counting in Year 1 all the way up to algebra in Year 6.

There are a variety of simple things you can do at home to help your child understand number and place value.

How to help at home

You don’t need to be an expert to support your child with maths! Here are three simple but effective ways to help your child develop their understanding of number and place value.

1. Play counting games

Board games often show ordered numbers on tracks or grids. Make sure to put out these numbers, and count out loud as you progress. This will help your child quickly get a sense of what the numbers mean.

Dice can also help your child recognise number patterns quickly. For example, a pair of dice is a great way of showing your child doubles, or what it means for a number to be 1 bigger than another number.

Action games like ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and songs like ‘Ten Green Bottles’ can help build early counting skills.

2. Break down numbers

Look for numbers in the world around you and encourage your child to break them into parts. Breaking numbers up like this is called partitioning.

Point out a number and ask your child how many ones/tens/hundreds/thousands it has. Lots of children find this easier with physical objects, like stones or sticks. For example, they could group sticks into groups of ten.

3. Have counting races

Choose a starting number and a multiple to count up by. For example, you could start at 12 and count in steps of 4.

Take turns to say the next number in the sequence (12, 16, 20, 24, 28, …). Set a timer and see what number you can reach in one minute. This kind of game could also work as a bit of healthy competition between siblings or friends!