Numeracy skills give children an important start to their learning and development. They also help prepare them for daily life at all ages. For example, in handling money and problem solving.
Why numeracy is important
Numeracy is more than numbers. For example, numeracy helps us:
- understand and use numbers and other mathematical ideas in everyday life
- recognise and use shape
- work out the chance of something happening
- understand the data we see in the media.
Numeracy is necessary for everyday living. From daily activities like telling the time, cooking and setting the table to more difficult tasks such as understanding mobile phone plans, planning a trip, reading a map and understanding timetables.
As children and young people move through life stages the everyday numeracy demands become more complex.
Employers see numeracy as important in the workplace. Research shows that higher numeracy skills lead to higher levels of health and wellbeing and other benefits such as better decision making and financial independence.
Resources for parents
Numeracy guide: numeracy at home
This interactive online guide:
- explains the difference between numeracy and mathematics
- helps your child to learn numeracy and mathematics at home
- identifies and talks about some common myths about maths
- suggests helpful activities you can do with your child.
There are also a range of fun activities that you can try together based on your child’s interests and experiences:
- Birth to Level 2 suggestions for children up to about 8 years of age, including activities for cooking, travelling, reading, shopping and exploring.
- Levels 3 to 8 suggestions for children and early adolescents including numeracy in the kitchen, travelling, reading, shopping, our neighbourhood, games and sports.
- Levels 9 to 10 activities for young people including exploring sustainability, healthy living, shopping, home improvements, gardening, travel and natural phenomena.
Everyday maths animations
Animations to help to engage young children in conversations about mathematics and numeracy in everyday activities.
The animations include closed caption (CC) translations in:
Encouraging maths in early years learning
Read more about the key role of families in Eleven games and activities for parents to encourage maths in early learning.
Maths Everyday – Frieze
Numeracy focused activity for each day of the week, including suggestions and questions to prompt conversations with young children.
Fact sheets – maths tips for early childhood
Activities to bring maths into your child’s day.
The Mathscots is an animation series that supports numeracy at home for early primary school aged children.
Following the introductory episode, there are nine episodes that you can watch with your children in any order at any time. Each episode is between one and two minutes long.
For each episode, there are ideas and activities you can explore with your children. Whether you choose to explore a few activities or many, it's important to:
- learn alongside your children
- encourage curiosity and discussion.
The Victorian maths challenge (VMC)
A fun way to engage in real life mathematics. Take a look at the activities and explore and solve real life problems together. Suitable for school aged children.
Practical advice for parents, families and carers
- How to build your child's numeracy skills from birth to Year 2 – how to build your child's skills in maths, measurement and patterns
- How to build your child's numeracy skills from Years 3 to 6 – how to build your child's skills in maths and numeracy in everyday situations.
Additional resources, activities and supports
- FUSE numeracy resources – a collection of informative and engaging online educational resources to support numeracy and mathematics development.
- Literacy and numeracy tips to help your child every day (PDF, 4.17MB) – tips to show families and carers how they can help children develop the skills they need throughout primary school.
- Numeracy @HOME – activities, tips, and information to support young children's maths learning in everyday activities.
- Numeracy – families working it out together – helps families and carers of young children (early years) encourage numeracy by looking for opportunities in everyday situations.
- Maths at our house – ideas for maths activities at home.
Evidence and research
Read more about numeracy and mathematics research.
- Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical mindsets. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
- Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset. Great Britain: Robinson
- Knaus, M. (2013). Maths is all around you: Developing mathematical concepts in the early years. Albert Park, VIC: Teaching Solutions
- MacDonald, A. (2018). Mathematics in early childhood education. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press