Explore Horizons is having Sum Fun with math!

October 29, 2018

Partnering with Sum Fun to change the way students look at math


Anything can be made more fun and engaging when you turn it into a game. Explore Horizons found someone who is leading the charge on making math more fun and engaging: our friends at Sum Fun. We interviewed David Bullen, the Managing Director of Sum Fun Games Limited and creator of the new and exciting educational math game. As an accountant and a creative thinker, he found the perfect way to share his love with kids!


David, how did you get inspired to create Sum Fun?

The inspiration to create Sum Fun was drawn from a combination of factors really. Without a doubt my initial love of math and numbers had something to do with it.  This coupled with my enthusiasm to play games and a passion to educate my own children in both a fun and engaging way also contributed greatly.

On top of this, I had always been struck at just how many people I had met over the years who made it clear they either hated math or indeed anything to do with numbers! I would even go as far as to say that for many people, math and numbers create fear, and can even lead to what I would call “math anxiety”. I’m fortunate in that I have always enjoyed math so I wondered if it would be possible to help others get over their fear of math.

So, the question is where does this math anxiety stem from in the first place?

Well, research has shown that early experiences with math have long lasting outcomes in terms of educational achievement and life chances. I am therefore utterly convinced that the best way to get rid of this fear is to ensure kids are introduced to math and numbers from a very early age. It is also very important to demonstrate that math can be fun! We can do this by letting our kids do what they do best, through the medium of play, we can get our kids playing math and number games, having fun and educating themselves in the process!

Hence the inspiration to create of Sum Fun was born!

What do kids and parents tell you about the game? Can you give us some examples of testimonials?

We are very fortunate to have had some fantastic testimonials from kids, parents and teachers alike. Below are just a few comments from people who have played the game:

I have been using this with children from ages 7 to 10 in classes during break times and they absolutely love it. We are going to have a Sum Fun club at our elementary school next term. Lots of them have put it on their list for Santa. A really engaging game that challenges the children at their own level. The teachers have enjoyed it too!

I bought this game for my ten-year-old granddaughter and she has become addicted to it its really great and so educational, sturdy and well made one of the best things I have ever bought for her.

This is a fun math game that is adaptable and suitable for all my children aged from 4 – 13. It is a great fun way to learn math and help my youngest become more confident with her numbers while my older children can use it for more complex math. It really does suit all ages and abilities. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking to improve their math or just have some fun.

A must for all game playing families. Great game for all ages – a real number alternative to Scrabble.
While the rules provided are clear and concise it is also easily possible to make adaptations to suit the circumstances. For, say, younger children it doesn’t require much imagination to simplify the play and give them success = motivation. Beware adults – it can be tougher than you think. Highly recommended!!!

There is also a great blog article at: https://thebmanandthelgirl.com/sum-fun-games/

Beyond just Sum Fun, how can we all make math more fun for kids?

As a parent it could be that you never enjoyed math yourself. As a direct consequence, it’s therefore more likely you will have never had the chance to see that math can be fun. If you’ve felt like this, then don’t worry that’s not necessarily your fault. Maybe your teacher or parents didn’t enjoy math either and it’s never too late to start enjoying math!

What’s more important now than ever is that you don’t let any potential lack of enthusiasm you may have previously had for the subject be passed down to your children!

My golden rules to make math more fun for kids are:

  1. Be enthusiastic about math and numbers in the first place!
  2. Make math come alive by using in everyday situations.
  3. Make math fun by playing games and setting challenges.

We can do this quite easily as so much of our daily lives are entrenched in math. Kids love hands on activities and competition, so when you are next out, why not set them a number related challenge. There is nothing they like better than competing against a parent or sibling! Whether this be counting the number or red cars you’ve seen on a journey; estimating the number of acorns that have fallen from an Oak tree; asking them how tall they think the tree is, asking them how many minutes do they think it will take to get home… I think you get the idea! Just use your imagination to set math and number related challenges and watch their maths skills develop.

In your eyes what is the magic of math?

The magic of math is that it’s everywhere, but it’s only when you stop and think about it that most people actually realize it! If anything, most of the time it’s just taken for granted. Just stop for one second whilst you are reading this blog and take a look around to see how immersed you are…

What were you able to see that was math or number related? You see what I mean… can you imagine what our world would be like without math? How would you know what day it was? How would you know what time to take the kids to school? How would you know what speed you were going on the school run?

At a deeper level, math has allowed us to develop as a society and make extraordinary technological advances. Math has already allowed us to put a man on the moon and with planned trips to Mars it’s fair to say that math is even at the forefront when it comes to our potential survival as a human race. Ultimately, what could be more important and magical than that?!

Tell about your experience supporting Explore Learning’s National Young Mathematicians’ Awards. What is your impression? What is it about Explore overall do you think really resonates with kids?

This year will be the third year we have been supporting the National Young Mathematicians’ Awards. This really is such a fantastic competition and it’s been an absolute pleasure to be given the opportunity to be a part of it. Last year I attended a regional final and it was simply brilliant to see so many children engaged and excited by math. The tasks set are quite different from the sorts of activities you might do at school, so this only adds to the fun! I like that as well as being judged on your individual problem-solving skills you will also be assessed for how well you work as a team – another very important life skill.

It’s clear to see why Explore are an Award-winning math and English tuition centre. Explore resonates with kids because they understand the importance of getting to know every child and finding out what makes them tick. This is so important when educating kids as they do learn things in different ways. Everybody I have ever met at Explore are always so enthusiastic too! This is infectious and allows kids to discover the magic of learning. Every day we are all on a learning journey… it’s important to recognize this, so let’s embrace it and let all of our minds “Explore”!


Learn more about our Young Mathematicians’ Awards and see how you can get your school involved right away!

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