Math isn’t generally considered the most exciting subject, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. With a little creativity and effort, parents and teachers can help children discover that learning mathematical skills can include more than just tedious worksheets and repetitive flashcards.
Kids learn best when actively engaged in projects and activities that challenge and excite them. Through these hands-on experiences, children make connections that help them to understand new concepts and ideas, allowing them to retain this information effortlessly.
When we are able to find opportunities to make learning fun for kids, especially when it comes to subjects like math, we open up a whole new world of discovery, encouraging children to find joy in education.
One of my favorite ways to explore math concepts with children of all ages and abilities, is through board, card, and dice games. If you’re looking for math games to share with the kids in your life, you’ll appreciate these suggestions.
Rummikub – A fast moving, easy-to-learn game for kids that reinforces skills such as sequencing and patterns. Using strategy (and a bit of luck) players arrange their number tiles into sets (groups of the same number) or runs (consecutive numbers in the same color). An addicting game that is fantastic for groups, and has several variations to keep things interesting.
Yahtzee – This classic game is fun for all ages. Roll the dice, create combinations, and earn the highest score to win. Such a great way to work on probability, counting, addition, reasoning, and strategy skills.
Sequence Numbers – Master addition and subtraction skills with this stimulating game. Match a card (with an equation on it) to its correct answer on the gameboard, then place a chip there. Once players have 5 chips in a row, they’ve created a sequence. It’s not as simple as it sounds though, because like most great games, strategy plays a part in the outcome.
Pizza Fraction Fun – With 7 different games to choose from, kids will have a blast identifying fractions, matching fraction equivalents, and adding or subtracting fractions, all while building pizzas. A wonderful game for visual learners, or anyone who likes to have fun as they work on math skills.
Rack-O – Players race to be the first to get all their cards in sequential order. A fantastic game for all ages, and is especially fun with groups. Would be wonderful for a math center in the classroom or homeschool environment.
Tenzi – One of the most versatile games I’ve ever played. There are over 77 different ways to play with the dice included in this game. The classic version (which can be played in under 5 minutes) involves being the first to roll the same number on all 10 of your dice, but with so many other game alternatives, kids can work on everything from probability to recognizing patterns. A simple, addicting game that deserves a spot in every home and classroom.
Phase 10 – An exciting card game that requires players to compete against each other to be the first to finish a series of 10 varied phases (combination of cards). Players must complete one phase before moving on to the next. Finish all 10 phases, and win the game. The twist, is there are special action cards (“wild” and “skip”), that help players, or hinder their opponents.
Monopoly – The game so many of us grew up playing, encourages kids to use addition and subtraction skills continuously as they explore financial concepts such as budgeting, dollar value, and investments. Monopoly provides a fantastic opportunity for children to count money and make change as well.
Qwirkle – If you’re looking for a game that will allow children to practice spatial recognition, planning, and problem solving skills, this is it. A straightforward and engaging game that involves matching tiles to earn points, using strategy, reasoning, and critical thinking.
Prime Climb – This beautiful and colorful math game offers kids a unique way to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Players roll the dice, and use mathematical knowledge (and a bit of luck) to work their way to the center of the board, bumping opponents back to the start, as they move along. A great way to inspire critical thinking while learning and having a blast!
Do you have a favorite board, dice, or card game for kids that teaches math skills? What would you add to this list?