Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Make Math Fun with Math Games!

Keeping our children excited about learning over the summer makes back-to-school season so much easier. If we can make learning fun, kids view it as a reward, rather than a chore.

At my Kumon Center, I often use a deck of cards to conduct oral "fact checks". I simply take a deck of cards and remove the face cards. Here are some of our activities:

  • To practice simple Addition and Multiplication - In Kumon, we focus on mastering concepts in linear, bite-sized pieces. Therefore, we master "plus one" before moving on to "plus two" and so forth. For these students (let's say a child mastering "plus three"), every card I flip over would be "plus three". If they are able to give me the sum without hesitation, they keep the cards. If not, I get the cards. Whoever has the most cards in the end, wins the game. The same concept can be used to practice multiplication tables. (Note: Once basic facts are memorized, two cards can be flipped over and added or multiplied. This mixes things up a bit and makes it more challenging.)

  • Subtraction: Same concept, but be sure to remove all cards "lower" than the core number. This is not where we want to introduce the concept of negative numbers!

Other fun family games to teach numeracy and math skills:

  • To teach Number Sense, play War. Click here for rules. You can modify this game to grow with your child by giving each player a full deck of cards and having each player flip over two cards. The winner would be the player with the highest sum (for addition) or product (for multiplication).

  • Play Dominos. Click here for rules. I love Dominos!

  • Play Math Bingo. Click here for free printable bingo cards and a call list. Fast, fun, and easy!

  • Play Twister with a Math Twist: Put numbers in the circles on Twister mat. Call out an equation instead of a color. Cool, right?

Online FREE math game links:

  • For K-8 children, Funbrain.com has a ton of "brain games" (number games and word games) as well as web books. Some of the games I tried were Math Baseball, Grammar Gorillas, and Planet Zug, which is a grade-by-grade vocabulary building game.

  • Primarygames.com is another great family-friendly site for learning games. In the math category, there are a few versions of Sudoku, Math Lines, Arithmatiles, What Time Is It?, Simon Says, and (my favorite) MATH MAN, which is like PacMan, but uses sums of equations for power. It just does't get any cooler than that!


  • There's also funschool which has a 34 fun and free math games. Games start with pre-school concepts to square roots and powers. I'd reccomend "Math Poppers" for 2nd graders who will be entering 3rd grade in the fall. "Math Poppers" reinforces addition and subtraction skills while introducing children to the multiplacation tables.

Hugs and blessings~


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