7 ideas for maths play

education maths play

BDoMP is short for Big Day of Maths Play which is a special occasion we have started to mark on 28 June. Can you guess why we chose this date to celebrate? For a very big clue, watch this.

Of course, we believe that playing with maths is for any day. But having a dedicated day is an opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the playful nature of mathematics.

We hope you enjoy browsing the ideas below and find something new to play around with and enjoy.

Maybe you'll be reminded of other ideas or ways you've enjoyed playing with maths in the past. Or maybe a new idea will spark with something you'd like to experiment with.


Idea 1

Notice 'Maths in the Wild'

'Maths in the Wild' describes mathematical sights seen when out and about.

Thanks to Helen I. from the Maths Play community who shared this idea with us - we love it and are making it a Maths Play thing! 💡

Image by Alan Couchman-Sawyer from Pixabay

Some potential questions to ponder you're spotting sights:

🤔 Why is this interesting?

🤔 What do I notice/wonder?

🤔 What does this remind me of?

🤔 What's possible with...?


Idea 2

Collect and Inspect

Gumnuts, autumn leaves, stones, bottle caps... Whatever you collect, there'll be plenty to notice, inspect and play around with.

Macadamia nuts from a garden in country Victoria. 

Some potential questions to explore:

🤔 How many altogether? How do I know?

🤔 What are some different ways to count them?

🤔 How could I share these out? Or sort them into groups?

🤔 What's possible...? What would I like to do with them?

Ring pulls from aluminium drink cans.

Idea 3

Enjoy maths in storybooks

We've been making use of the local library to enjoy some new, and some favourite classic, picture storybooks. We're noticing plenty of maths to enjoy inside each storybook.


Idea 4

Play with puzzles


Early Family Math (EFM) has recently released a bunch of puzzles. Check them out and let us know if there's a particular one you are enjoying.

Explore puzzle cards


Idea 5

Play a game

♟️Line of 4 has a Connect 4 flavour. Find the details and a bunch of game boards to play with here.

♟️Battle Ships is a classic game with plenty of maths involved.. See how to play with pencil and paper here.

♟️Dots and Boxes is another classic pencil-and-paper game, great for exercising logical reasoning and forward-thinking. Play offline or see how you go against the computer here.

♟️If you're looking for more unique and challenging games, check out this set of 6 strategic games at Math With Bad Drawings.


Idea 6

Enjoy some maths jokes

We love it when words and numbers get together and play in ways that create a giggle.

To help celebrate the BDoMP, we've pulled a few favourite jokes and puns together and are 'playing them forward' here:

Explore more maths jokes


Idea 7

Play with blocks

There are many different kinds of blocks to play with. Pattern blocks are on of our favourites. They're different-shaped blocks that fit together in beautiful, mathematical ways.

If you feel like tinkering and seeing what's possible with pattern blocks, and have the funds, you can purchase physical pattern blocks at Officeworks.

You can also play with virtual pattern blocks online with this fantastic, free tool called Polypad.


Happy BDoMP! We hope you enjoy some of the ideas here or enjoying revisiting or creating some of your own favourite ways to Maths Play.

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Maths Play acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, learn and work, and pay our respects to Elders past and present. Maths Play is dedicated to learning and operating in ways that acknowledge, respect, celebrate and learn from the original and beautiful cultures of these lands.