## Tuesday, May 15, 2012

### 5 Days of Making Math Fun: Games

Math is a crucial skill for kids to learn. It’s used everyday, from problem solving to computations.  However, many parents believe that math is dry, dull, boring.  What many people (and some curriculums!) don’t realize is that math can be fun – and I’m not talking about just for those kids that enjoy doing math problems just to see if they can get the correct answer!

Over the past few years, I’ve learned that my son learns best by playing games.  In fact, the way he learned how to recognize those dreadful teen numbers was by playing a game.  Games provide a fun environment that allows the child to work on social skills, communication skills, and problem solving.  An added bonus is if the game is educational (and especially if it helps with math skills. *wink *wink)

There is something about playing games that makes kids learn the material – and quickly.  We recently changed curriculums to RightStart math for the sole fact that almost all of the computation tables are learned via games (and the abacus, but that’s a different matter!).  Within the past 2 weeks, Aikman has gone from not wanting to talk about addition to begging to play another round of “Sum to 10.”  (We use this kit for the games.)

You don’t have to buy an expensive kit, like RightStart.  In fact, we have made games ourselves from a standard deck of cards, and even using Uno and Phase 10 cards.  We’ve even used a simple box and 5 little items/counters to practice learning the addition facts to 5.

Games are so versatile that many can be used for different subjects.  I’ve seen all over the Internet where teachers have changed Candyland into a sight word game.  Oftentimes, I’ll take a game and tweak it so that it fits our needs, which includes games Aikman seemingly has outgrown. For instance, when I wanted to teach him how to read the number words (one, two, etc.), I made some cards that had the number words on them from 1 to 10, and played Chutes and Ladders with our new cards rather than using the spinner. (See post for free printable.)

So, what games do we recommend for teaching math?

Here’s our list of the top 25 math games for kids!

Colors, numbers, counting:
Candyland
Hi Ho Cherry O
Bingo  -- there’s no better way to practice reading 2 digit numbers!

Problem solving
Sequence
Jenga, Don’t Break the Ice, Kerplunk, and other balancing/topping games
Set  -- PERFECT for kids ages 8+, especially for middle school and high schoolers!
Connect 4
Mancala

Geometry:
Tangoes and Tangoes Jr.
Geometry dominoes

Computation games:
Dominoes (I prefer double nines for practicing addition and multiplication)
Speed!  (the BEST skipcounting game!)
7 ATE 9
99 or Bust

Money:
Money Bags
Bankrupt -- from Growing Kinders blog
Pay Day
Monopoly

Do you have a favorite math game?  Please tell me about it!  We are always on the look out for more great games!

If this is your first time visiting Montessori Tidbits, don’t miss the great activities and ideas that are shared on our Facebook page and G+ profile!

Note:  Games above are linked to my Amazon affiliate code.  The very small amount of money that I make on Amazon is used to support our curriculum needs.  Photos are taken from Amazon.

Evenspor said...

I love math games. My third grade teacher had one called Tribulation that I always liked to play. I also have one from way back when called Make 7 that is like Connect 4 but the pieces all have a 1, 2 or 3 on them, and you have to make a row that adds up to 7. Those are both hard to find, though, being older games. My husband taught me the Italian card game Quindici, and I can't wait until Beeper is ready for that, because it's a lot of fun. It's about making your cards add up to 15.

Chandra said...

Great list!

Patterns and problem solving - Qwirkle.

Addition - Sleeping Queens, Zeus on the Loose

Leann Warren said...

Great suggestions, Chandra! I LOVE Quirkle.

I've never played Zeus on the Loose, but I may have to buy it! It would be a great tie-in while studying Ancient Greece and the Greek Gods, which we will be doing this fall!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the list. We also like an old game called Can't Stop - lots of addition.

Brenda said...

My boys LOVE Skipbo. It's great for counting.

We also made a copy of a Montessori game called Pickin, but it's like shut the box.

Leann Warren said...

Brenda, I was looking for Shut the Box when I was creating this list, but couldn't find it anyway! Such a fun game.

Leann Warren said...

Thanks, Wendy! Off to research more about Can't Stop! Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Yahtzee, too!

Kansas555 said...

Phase 10 is good for older kids, 8+, for sequencing.

Emma said...

I bought the " Magic cauldron " from Orchard, initially as a Halloween board game for our little English Club for kids. It has great voc such as skull, bone, pumpkin, cheese, poison (!) These are all the items you have to " win " to put in your cauldron. But to win them, you have to work out how much is 5x2 or 4+3+3 or 10-7 etc. And the best of course is that to check your answer you have to rub a ghost on the card with your thumb and the answer appears magically...
My son is 4 1/2 and loves playing this game. He is starting to understand the concept of adding and substracting.