We know we know.....it's still November....not yet December so the word 'Christmas' should not officially be uttered. HOWEVER, we HAVE to write this now as the 1st of December is too late!

'Why?' we hear you cry. Because on the 1st of December your little angels will be gleefully opening the first door on their advent calendar and the all important 'How many sleeps 'til Father Christmas comes?' question will begin to ring in your ears.

Christmas is a time for fun, family and Father Christmas magic (we know you still have a quick peek at the sky on Christmas Eve just in case.....). It is a time to rest, relax and rediscover the concept of a 'doing nothing day' (usually somewhere between Christmas and New Year). But it can also be a chance to carry on learning.....in a FUN WAY! and here's how:

1.) The Advent Calendar - Children learning to recognise numbers 1-25 (teen and twenty something numbers can be especially tricky for very little ones e.g. preschool)

2.) The Christmas Countdown - this can be simply done using a piece of paper with the number 24-1 written on it. Each day the children tick off the next number - counting backwards!

3.) The Present Size calculation - it has been the nightmare of many a parent when they suddenly realise that one child has significantly bigger presents than the other (even if the smaller ones have meant the agreement of a third mortgage in order to afford them). Believe us when we say that children are also very clever at quickly working out who has the biggest and smallest present or the most or least in their pile - a great way to practice their maths but maybe not so great for the parents :-(

4.) The Presents - whether it's Lego, Frozen toys, Leap Pads, Action figures or any of the other many toys that our children will receive this Christmas, maths is hidden in so many of them. From counting bricks, working out sizes, estimating space, calculating force (needed for Spiderman to take down Doc Ock), working out calculations using ICT (Tablets and Apps) or singing along to 'Let it Go' (following rhythm / pattern and counting beats), maths is in EVERYTHING!

So sit back this Christmas and enjoy the fun knowing that your children will be practising and fine tuning their maths skills without them or you even knowing it!

Let the countdown begin!