Number Squares or 100 Squares are a great way to teach mental maths and enhance overall mathematical skills. With a little creativity parents can invent so many things to do with it keeping kids amused and learning without knowing they are learning. Here are a few ideas (suitable for 4-7 years olds) to get you going:
1. Print a 100 square from here, let your child color it and then cut it into puzzle shaped pieces taking care to cut along black lines. Scramble the pieces and let your child put it together like a jigsaw. Make it more challenging by racing against time. Although a simple looking activity, it is very beneficial in having a feel for the 100 square, the places where different numbers belong etc which all comes handy in mental maths.
2. On a printed 100 square, cover some of the numbers with beads. Let your child guess the number.
3. Make your own 100 square with some numbers missing. Make up a story about these numbers being “lost” and let your child fill in the missing numbers.
4. Make the above step more challenging by making number puzzles to fill in rather than a whole 100 square.
5. Give your child a 100 square. On a piece of paper or a white board, make an arrow pointing right or left. Explain that one arrow stands for moving one number in that direction on the 100 square. Then write a number and making an arrow in front of it. Let your child tell you which number is represented by number + arrow. Once the child grasp the concept, make a string of arrows and challenge him/her to find the number. Soon the child will grasp that moving horizontal is equal to adding or subtracting on the number square. Next introduce a vertical arrow and then a combination of both. Avery good exercise to develop mental addition and subtraction. For more learning and fun, let your child challenge you.
6. For computer geeks, find the bone for the dog by finding the bones hidden in a number square, here
8. A very good site to explore is Mathwire, where you will find tons of activities for maths.