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Fun Maths Activities and Investigations for KS1 and KS2 in Primary School

Over the years, we’ve created lots of different fun maths activities and investigations to add to primary teachers’ toolboxes. Some of these maths activities mirror our online one to one maths tutoring programme, while others are more suitable for whole class teaching. We share here as part of our continual support for KS1 and KS2 teachers working in UK classrooms.

The purpose of these numeracy activities, especially the event-based ones, is three-fold:

1. To support you, the teacher, with problem solving and reasoning questions (with answers) and save you writing your own. 

2. To give learners the opportunity to see more everyday maths in context, and experiences of how maths reasoning really matters in the real world. 3. To add some variety and relevance to the maths lesson slides, questions and worksheets you may be doing with your class every day. We love what the White Rose maths hub resources provide in terms of weekly planning, but sometimes we may be looking for some more exciting, hands-on and fun maths activities, whether for Year 1 or Year 6.

Topical Maths Activities For The Term

Topical Maths Activities For The Term

Maths investigations linked to key calendar dates this term, designed to develop reasoning and problem solving in your pupils

Some of you may question the place that fun has in a child’s education, and whether fun maths lessons will achieve the long term goal of retention and retrieval. While we’ve all had a class which requires an upbeat tempo of fun games as part of their learning process, many children will experience cognitive overload if important new maths concepts are introduced through a game. You will know your pupils best in this context. 

The majority of maths activities and investigations shared below use a fun concept or relevant idea to develop children’s number sense, fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills in the pursuit of learning maths.

Follow the links below to find out more about the kind of maths activities and maths investigations we’ve got available to you.

Fun maths activities KS2 (with some KS1 in there too)

Fun outdoor maths activities 13 flexible and fun activities to do outside, many of which can be adapted for early years to Year 6; most of these involve some kind of physical activity and fine motor skill development, as well as treasure hunts for angles, ways to incorporate data handling, graphs and measurement into the school fair, and using mathematical skills to make mathematical connections to nature. 

Fun back to school maths activities teaching ideas to help you get back in the groove of maths lessons after a long summer break. These are summer maths activities the whole class can get involved in, some practising quick mental maths skills, others involving more complex reasoning, plus the odd card game maths activity as well.  

Fun end of term maths activities: We all know that by the end of the summer term the atmosphere in class tends to get a bit overexcitable. Here are some ideas to harness that excitement into some fun and lively maths investigations that recap children’s knowledge from across their year’s work from 2d shapes to averages and algebra.

Fun maths games for kids at home: This might almost be our favourite collection – one to hand out to parents for homework and homeschool; it includes home-made board games, fun ways to practise times tables and lost of fun games that help children with their maths skills and require only a pencil, a piece of paper and a pack of playing cards to get going. Essential for anyone undertaking any kind of home learning with their children. 

We’ve also now extended our maths games collections to include KS1 maths games, KS2 maths games, and even KS3 maths games.

Fun maths lessons for KS2: a collection of our favourite fun maths lessons, suitable for Year 3 to Year 6 (ideal for after SATs) which include human bar charts, sharing 3D shapes, and planning the teacher’s next holiday! 

Fun maths starters KS2: 15 of the best maths starters to help you introduce a new topic, consolidate previous work, or just to use as part of a maths meeting with your class, improving their mental maths – includes a printable version to use in school. 

Fun SATs revision games: Even 11-year-olds need a break sometimes, so we asked some fantastic teachers on Twitter what their favourite top tips for keeping SATs revision fun were, and here’s your answer – loads of great ideas in here for anyone teaching Year 6Fun maths club activities: Provided you’re armed with some creative, open ended, and ideally practical maths club activities to give children, maths clubs are not nearly as hard to set up and run as you might first imagine. The benefits are manifold; this article has all you need to get started including several really fun group games specially designed for primary school maths clubs.

Fun maths investigations for topical events

KS2 maths investigations: For many years now, Third Space has been creating maths investigations for Year 6. We’ve now adapted them to be suitable across KS2. In the main, these tend to be open ended maths investigations, focused around key events in the primary school calendar. Some of these are also slightly shorter activities but they all require pupils to do extensive problem solving and reasoning based around events in everyday life. Here are some favourite KS2 maths problems solving investigations from each term:

Here’s our complete list of topical maths investigations for year 5 and year 6.

Autumn Term maths investigations year 6 and year 5

Spring Term maths investigations year 6 and year 5

Summer term maths investigations year 6 and year 5

And if that’s not enough we’ve even got maths activities for Year 5 and Year 6 for events you’re likely to celebrate in primary school but don’t come round every year… 

Mixed ability maths investigations

We know most of you now teach mixed ability maths classes so something we’re often asked for is year 6 maths activities with a low threshold high ceiling. Take a look at these open ended maths investigations for Year 6 and the rest of Key Stage 2. You’ll also be able to download one of our favourite free teaching resources – 8 low threshold high ceiling activities including the famous fox chicken grain puzzle. 

We’ve also collected the best KS2 maths challenges here for any of your pupils who are working at greater depth in KS2 maths and need further extension in your maths lessons.

Holiday maths activities

We all know about the summer brain drain and how easily children forget what we’ve taught them but it can be difficult to know what to do about it. These summer holiday maths activities were created with parents in mind, you can also use these KS1 and KS2 holiday maths activities to give your pupils lots of fun maths challenges to do over the holidays. 

National curriculum maths activities for KS1 and KS2

The final way we’ve organised our KS2 maths activities for you is by national curriculum topic. We’ll continue to add to this section so bookmark this page and check back if it’s useful. Get started:

Do you have pupils who need extra support in maths?
Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of pupils across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions designed to address learning gaps and boost progress.

Since 2013 we’ve helped over 150,000 primary and secondary school pupils become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

Primary school tuition targeted to the needs of each child and closely following the National Curriculum.

Anantha Anilkumar
Anantha Anilkumar
Content Editor
Anantha trained as a teacher before becoming an editor for Third Space Learning. He also has experience as a market analyst which proved very useful in writing about Ofsted and the pupil premium.
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Topical Maths Activities For The Term

Topical Maths Activities For The Term

Maths investigations linked to key calendar dates this term, designed to develop reasoning and problem solving in your pupils

Download Free Now!

Topical Maths Activities For The Term

Downloadable resource

Maths investigations linked to key calendar dates this term, designed to develop reasoning and problem solving in your pupils

Download Free Now!
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FREE 12 Maths Club Activities for Primary Schools (Years 1 to 6)

A collection of games and activities to make maths enjoyable in a primary school maths club!

Minimal resources are needed for each activity.

Download free