Book Review – Playful Mathematics

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Book Review – Playful Mathematics 

Book written by Helen Williams

I had this book sent through for me to review. Don’t worry, I am going to be giving this book away as I feel once I have reviewed it, its kind to give back to the sector, for free of course, but there is one caveat, you must read this book review to know how to get your hands on it.


So, it has taken me a week to go through the book and what an experience it has been, a positive one of course. To be honest Mathematics was always an area that I felt I needed to work extra hard to be able to give the children the best start with mathematical development. In all honesty I still feel very much mirror much of this now. When teaching mathematics in my current role it fills me with dread, even though the students are adults and have lots of texts to go to. I guess it’s a deep-rooted experience from my own childhood. But enough about me. Here is what I think about the book…


What is the book all about?


You will have guessed it, it’s all about mathematics for children 3-7 years, but not just mathematics, it’s about Playful Mathematics. It has been written by Helen Williams, and as many of you know she is a voice of knowledge and reason in the Early Years and Primary sector when it comes to mathematics.


The main point of my review for this book is to give an honest review, I don’t review all books I receive. I have read the book and feel somewhat confident in my approach now. A kind of sense that my ability is good enough and that the experiences I had given to the children have or are validated in some way, in a positive way of course. What is striking within the book and what pops out at you are the lovely pictures encompassing the chapters in the book. Wow is the word I use here as some of these pictures make you feel like you are emersed in the play of these children, like you are there with them. You can hear the laughter just by looking at these pictures.


What I also like about the book is how it has been structured with both the child and professional in mind, it is like a going on that playful journey together. You could argue that everyone who engages with the child has been thought about here, including professionals and parents and carers. The fact that the book starts the reader on a journey of playful mathematics is genius. It gets you to a place of inspired thinking about mathematics, but the focus is of course how children learn best and how adults can support the mathematics learning. Starting from the point of play got me enthused straight away. We all know that play is the best place for this learning to happen, right?


Each chapter gives you definitions about aspects of the Early Years and mathematics, how it relates to the child and their development, giving a historical context and of course opportunities for some take away on how to reflect on your own practices.


The book continues to foster an approach of where the adult sits with regards to mathematical development and how to support the child. Becoming prepared rather than planning is a frame which I am going to adopt moving forwards. I am not going to give too much away, you need to read it to find out why I think it’s a good place to start. Helen has completely taken the individual needs of a child in mind here, thinking about discussing the child’s own learning with them. I have to say that the book is child centred, focused on the mathematical application to learning and brings out how to utilise resources effectively in your settings.


The activities that are in this book will be an invaluable resource and I know whoever picks this book up will undoubtably utilise it to support their practice, engaging with furthering knowledge about mathematics but also being able to do this playfully.


Do you want to engage in Playful Mathematics – then get hold of this book. It has already been put on my reading list and I know it will be a welcome addition to all Early Years educators, both nationally and internationally.


A great book Helen, thank you so much for instilling a can-do approach to children’s learning and making you feel like you can teach mathematics effectively and most importantly through Play.



How many stars does my honest review give it?

You guessed it, it’s a 5-star publication from me.




Giveaway Time 

So do you want to get your hands on this book. I have a copy to giveaway. But there is a catch. You need to tell us what playful mathematics means to you. Tag both Aaron Bradbury @AaronEarlyYears and Helen Williams @helenjwc into the post. You must use these two hashtags too. #TeamEarlyChildhood #PlayfulMaths


One winner will be announced on Monday 4th April at mid day. You must follow the above otherwise your submission will not be entered into the draw. Good luck.


Get hold the book here (Click on the book)






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