Five maths skills your child will learn in Reception

Five maths skills your child will learn in Reception

In Reception, children start to work with numbers in a range of different ways. They will be encouraged to be curious and explore numbers by playing number games, singing counting songs, making models as well as being introduced to the ideas of addition and subtraction.

But there’s no need to figure everything out as your child does - this article will help you get a head start by knowing what to expect. 

In Reception, your child will learn how to:

1. Count and place numbers 1-20 in order

The goal for the end of reception is that your child will be able to reliably use numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they will add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer.

In most primary school classrooms teachers pick a number of the week to build into the week’s work - you can try to find out the number each week and look out for it at home!

At home: Practice counting whenever you can with toys, cars, books etc. Sing songs and nursery rhymes which feature numbers. Take it in turns to pick a random number and practice counting on and backwards from that number.

2. Share objects into equal groups and count how many are in each group

Children should be able to share out a number of objects evenly and count how many there are by giving each object a number - this will develop their problem solving skills. Teachers will usually use counters, blocks or toys to share equally between a number of people.

At home: Practice sharing things into different groups. Try sharing sweets or berries into small bowls or egg cups. Or have a teddy bears picnic and make sure each bear gets their share!

3. Recognise and form their own patterns and build models.

Children in reception learn how to use familiar objects and common shapes to create and recreate patterns and build models.

At home: Save your cereal boxes and cardboard tubes for making models. Your child will think they’re just making a castle, but you’ll know they’re learning about shapes!

4. Describe and recognise 2D and 3D shapes

Reception students will learn about 2D and 3D shapes. They should be able to name different shapes while describing their features. They love to recognise shapes in the real world! 

At home: Check out your cupboard and see what shapes they recognise, open packets of food and ask them to spot certain shapes. Start counting the number of sides and corners different shapes have. Play peek-a-boo, revealing shapes a little at a time and at different angles, asking children to say what they think the shape is, what else it could be or what it could not be. 

5. Start to build an understanding of weight, size and length

Your reception learner will start to develop their vocabulary such as heavy, light, tall, short, big and small. They will be able to put two or three items in order according to their weight or length.  

At home: Let your little one help out when cooking and talk through weights and quantities. Let them help you arrange a cupboard by putting heavy items on the bottom shelf and lighter ones on top shelf, or arrange them tallest to shortest. 

Throughout the year, make sure to ask your child about what's happening in Reception maths. Give your child an opportunity to teach you by sharing what he or she has learned. Get ready for a fun year in Reception!

Found this useful? Check out our year by year maths guides from Reception to Year 4.

About Komodo  – Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost primary maths skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning maths (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy family routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths – without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths – you can even try Komodo for free. 


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