November saw the return of Explore Learning's third annual National Young Mathematicians’ Award where schools from all over the country battle it out to be named the top mathematicians in the country.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

The Grand Final is due to take place at the University of Cambridge on 5th December, where the five top scoring teams of the 650 participating schools will undertake a number of tough tasks. They will be assessed on their ability to get to the root of the problem, to be systematic in their approach, to work well as a team and to use good recording systems.  

Countdown’s Rachel said: “I’m thrilled to be involved in this year’s National Young Mathematicians’ Award. There is often a stigma around maths and by celebrating the best young mathematicians in the country, we can inspire pupils to be proud of how good they are at the subject. 

"Maths isn’t boring; it’s fun, it’s challenging and it’s made up of elements that will prove essential later in life. I’m a huge supporter of campaigns like this that encourage children not to get down when they know they have a maths lesson but to get excited, like I did when I was young.  I’m really looking forward to meeting the finalists – perhaps we will see them on Countdown one day!” 

But how can you actually inspire your children to like maths, let alone love maths, like Rachel?

Carey Ann Dodah from Explore Learning says that the important thing is integrating maths in every day life or “sneaking it in like vegetables.”  She said: “We use maths every day, from the most basic things such as going to the supermarket and seeing what’s the best deal, to looking at a bus timetable and calculating how long you have to wait, to working out how long you should put your turkey in the oven for at Christmas.

"It’s so important to emphasise to our children how important maths is later in life but there’s also a lot of pressure to make it fun.”

Top tips from Carey Ann on making maths fun: 

1. Play games – There are so many games that you can play with your kids to improve logical thinking, like chess and draughts.  Maths related board games like Monopoly and Rummikub are also great fun and are a good way to spend some quality time together.  This is even better with Christmas coming up, when we’ll all be inside thinking of ways to entertain ourselves other than watching endless TV!

2. Mix shopping with learning – When you’re on your weekly shop, get the children involved by asking them to recite the prices and add up what’s in the trolley.  You can also reward them with treats when you get to the checkout.

3. Bake and read – As mentioned, maths comes in very handy in the kitchen and you can turn baking cakes and cookies into an educational game.  Test their maths skills by asking them to add up or adapt a recipe for different amounts of serving.  The great thing about this is that they get to eat the results at the end!

4. Games and Apps – We’re lucky to live in a generation where our children are spoilt for choice with the amount of games and apps on offer to keep them entertained. There are so many apps out there and here at Explore learning we recently launched a free Times Table app to help children while they’re on the move (download available from iTunes store). 

5. Don’t pass on your insecurities – Many parents proudly claim how bad they are at maths – STOP!  Even if it’s true that you could be a lot better, don’t shout about it.  By saying how much you dislike maths, you are passing this negativity down to your child who will see that it’s acceptable to not be great at maths. Encourage them by making it fun, and if they’re good at it, remind them that they should be proud of it! 

Explore Learning have 70 centres located across the UK providing after school tuition in English and maths. To find out more about the inspiring maths activities Explore Learning provides, or the National Young Mathematicians Award, please visit

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