5 ready-to-go Maths activities to see you through to Christmas

By Sophie Waterman-Smith 

Christmas has arrived, judging by the glitter and tinsel at school, and it can be difficult to find engaging and relevant fun Christmas Maths activities for our Key Stage 2 pupils quickly and easily among all the nativities, pantomimes and school trips at this time. So our teachers at Third Space Learning have made things easy for you and put together five easy to implement KS2 Christmas Maths ideas that we have used in our own classrooms in the run up to Christmas.

Activities suitable for KS2.

1. Christmas Recipes

What would Christmas be like without all the food we enjoy altogether around this time? Mince pies, Christmas pudding, Yorkshire puddings…

So get your kids researching and creating recipes for their favourite Christmas foods. This can be linked to ratio and proportion, fractions and converting between different units.

Scaffolding tip

Give your pupils this recipe and ask them to re-write this recipe for 8 people, then for 4 people, then 2 people… See if they can then find a link between the numbers.

Mince pie recipe 

Makes 16 mince pies

  • 1 jar of mincemeat
  • 2 satsumas
  • 400g plain flour
  • 260g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg

2. Christmas shopping list

Get your pupils to write a letter to Father Christmas explaining what presents they would like to receive for Christmas (maybe a less selfish list could involve writing a list for a family member, a friend or family pet). Once they’ve written a list, they can decide prices for their items and calculate the total cost of their list.

To extend this activity:

Find the modal, median and mean price of their presents or discuss the appropriateness of their prices with a partner.

3. Christmas classroom fayre

Use role play as a tool for getting your pupils to understand money better and apply it to a real life situation, this being a Christmas fayre. Some pupils can take on the role of stall managers and some can be customers. The stall managers can create posters with prices of their products on and the customers can set themselves a budget for their Christmas shopping list before the Christmas fayre begins.

To adapt this lesson:

Take your pupils back in history and instead of money, replace their currency with goats, sheep or cows.

For a challenge, give the stall managers a different currency to work with and provide the pupils with a conversion rate (to make it easy, you could use $2= £1) to buy/sell goods with.

4. Wrapping paper nets

Your pupils could carry out a range of investigations using nets and wrapping paper. They could wrap up different objects and compare their nets, they could design different nets for the same object or they could be given an A3 sheet of paper and could have a competition to be as efficient as possible in order to wrap particular objects.

The nrich website, a great source of inspiration for Maths teachers everywhere, has some great suggestions for the approaches you can take with this Maths wrapping activity.

Little Pink Gift on the PlateCross-curricular integration

Link this activity to religious education by investigating the reason behind giving and receiving presents at Christmas or to geography by discussing the environment and recycling.

5. Symmetry with snowflakes and Christmas baubles

All kids love making snowflakes. Folding the paper, cutting the paper, seeing their designs hung up on the window… How about making this activity more challenging by ensuring Maths is involved? Your pupils could be challenged to ensure there are four lines of symmetry or have to find the symmetry in their designs once they have created their snowflakes.

A similar idea can be to provide your pupils with outlines of different shaped baubles and to then get them to create symmetrical Christmas designs for their baubles. You could also ensure they use rotational symmetry for an additional challenge.

Bonus Christmas Snowflake Symmetry Suggestion

Your starter activity for this lesson could be a photo of a real snowflake and the pupils could be asked ‘where is the symmetry in this picture?’

Looking for a Christmas Maths Quiz?

Try our 20-question KS2 Christmas Maths Quiz, new for 2016 and available to download for free.

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