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Fun activities to build 11+ exam skills at home

girl sat on computer at home

Winter into Spring activities for 11+ and key skills practice

With spring just around the corner, but everyone still spending lots of time at home, we thought we would share some ideas for fun activities that you can do with children preparing for the 11+.

These are also great practice of key skills for all children!

Maths

  • At home baking
    Banana bread, flapjacks, brownies – this is the perfect opportunity to get into the kitchen and practise some essential maths skills, whilst also creating something delicious.

    Great ways of incorporating maths skills into your baking include:
                

     

    • Finding an old recipe using lbs and ozs and asking your child to convert it into metric.
      (1 pound = 0.453 kilograms / 1 ounce = 28.3495 grams)
    • Asking your child to take a recipe and change the number of people that it will serve.
      g. for a recipe that makes 10 cookies, what quantity of ingredients will you need to make 20 cookies or 12?
    • Thinking about ratio – if a pancake recipe includes 50g of flour, 1 egg and 150ml of milk (i.e. a 1:3 ratio of flour to milk), how much of the ingredients would you need for a ratio of 2:7?
  • Planning your daily walk
    When heading out for a regular walk, why not dig out a paper map and see if you and your child can plot the route together? Working with real ‘graphic data’ is a great way of developing your child’s confidence when it comes to working with and interpreting data – a key topic in the maths section of the 11+.

 

English

  • Ideas to improve comprehension

    • Why not try reading the same book as your child? By reading the same book, you can both discuss and compare your impressions of the characters and plot, naturally developing your child’s comprehension skills. If you want to take it a step further, ask your child to write you a short quiz on the book, so you can both see how much you know about it!
    • Lots of films started life as books, so why not encourage your child to read the book version of their favourite film? This will then allow you to compare the book and the film, discuss which one they prefer and think about why there might be differences between the book and the film.

    You could start with some of these brilliant reads to boost comprehension – many of which have reading notes to support discussions – although any text would be great to use, and it is the questions you ask that really stretch children's understanding. 

        Treasure Island The Kite Rider The Wind in the Willows

 

Why not download our Bond reading list template to capture the books that your child is reading, alongside a mini book review.

 

  • Winter into Spring alphabet game
    A fun game that you can use to develop your child’s vocabulary. 

    Write down the letters of the alphabet, then ask your child to write down Winter or Spring words for each letter:

        Winter words                            Spring words

        Arctic                                        Awakening
        Boots                                       Blossom
        Chilly                                       Chicks
        Duvet                                       Daffodils
        E …                                          E …

 

Verbal reasoning

  • Puzzle books and crosswords
    Word puzzle books are great for developing key verbal reasoning skills. Try our Brain Training for Kids puzzle books, which are packed with fun puzzles that build children's skills through problem-solving.

 

        Bond Word Puzzles book jacket  Bond Logic Puzzles book jacket  Bond Number Puzzles book jacket

 

Download a selection of free word puzzles from the Brain Training for Kids series on Oxford Owl.

 

  • Word board games
    Popular word games such as Scrabble and Taboo are also a great way of developing your child’s problem-solving skills.

 

Non-verbal reasoning

  • Paper nets
    Use up leftover paper from your home studies by asking your child to make nets of different shapes.

    Nets of Cubes: Watch our free How To video where tutor Alvon Stewart works through 11+ questions and explains the relationship between nets and cubes.

    You can also practice assembling nets of cubes with our free download
    (Note that you will need to log in to your Bond account to access this and navigate to: Non-verbal Reasoning/Spatial Awareness > Other Support). 

 

  • Spring reflections and rotations
    Ask your child to make their own spring-themed reflection and rotation diagrams. 

    Ask them to draw something like a flower head or flower pot and then ask them to draw it after different rotations, e.g. after a 90° rotation to the right.


    Try something similar with reflections; ask them to draw different types of spring birds and their reflections.

 

        Reflection shapes

 

 

The Bond Team


Further support

  • Our 11+ Handbook Practice Area provides targeted practice of the key topics and question types children will come across in the actual 11+ exam, all for free!
  • Why not access our free resources area, where we have lots of 11+ activities and resources for you to help keep children aged 5-13 building their skills and knowledge at home.
  • You can also watch our How To videos: from comprehension to probability, word-code-word problems to nets of cubes, 11+ tutor Alvon Stewart shows you how to help your child at home with these tough skills.
  • Our free The 11+ Exam: A Parent's Guide covers everything you need to know ahead of the tests.