Summer Maths Runners

This is a quick ‘racing’ game we played on the beach.

It’s far from complicated and probably something you’ve already thought of… but that’s the beauty of bringing maths into everyday activities – it’s easy!

We made this up on the spur of the moment when our 7yr old was getting ‘bored’.

Sally’s friend is a little older, but they played this together for quite a while. We challenged the girls to collect a number of small objects. In a park, this might be fallen leaves, twigs, nuts, buttercups, etc. On a beach, they had to collect shells or pebbles.

We got them to stand together and gave each of them a bag. Then, I called out a maths problem, the type of problem will depend on the age of your children. Whatever you choose to ask you need to make sure the answer will be a small number.

With young children some good examples might be:

  • Half of 12
  • 3 lots of 3
  • Double 4
  • 14 subtract 9

… these are good because they all give answers that are not too large.

As soon as I said the ‘problem’ the girls had to race off to collect the right number of objects. When they came back (which was pretty soon) I checked that they had brought the right number and we quickly talked about the question and the answer. This was quite useful because it helped the girls to share different methods.

We played the game three or four times. After a while, I made it slightly harder to collect the right objects by saying they could only bring back shells that were completely white!

I also made sure the girls couldn’t collect items immediately at their feet – we played some distance away from where the shells were! Maths and running… they were tired by the end of the morning!



What about older children?

Work with problems like:

  • What is 10% of 30?
  • What’s the difference between 128 and 134?
  • What is a quarter of 6 x 8?


What about younger children?

You could ask things like:

  • What is 1 more than 5?
  • What is half of 8?
  • What is 2 less than 10?


If this idea was useful (or if you find a different way to play) please drop a comment below.

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