Finding ways to make math fun and interesting can be difficult. Children need to practice certain skills in math to become competent but doing the same drills again and again isn’t much fun.
However, making math fun can be as easy as adding a few games into your daily math routine. Math games can be used to introduce new concepts, practice math skills and consolidate math concepts.
Here are four different types of math games to consider using in your Home School math program.
Math Board Games
Board games can be used to teach different math skills. Commercial board games are available but these can be expensive and often one board game will only teach or practice one skill. A better alternative is to involve the children in making their own board games or look for ready made board games that can be printed from the internet.
Math Card Games
Math card games can be played with a simple deck of cards or with specially designed cards. Simple match up games are easy to make with cards having an equation on one card and the answer on the matching card. This can be played like Memory or Concentration. Children simply turn over 2 cards at a time and if they match they get to keep the cards.
Pencil and Paper Games
Many games can be played with just a pencil and paper. Everyone knows the word game Hangman but not everyone knows that Hangman can be adapted to a math game. Simply choose an equation and draw a dash for each of the numerals and signs in the equation, e.g. 24+18=42 would be recorded as 8 dashes _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Children then guess the signs and the numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Write the sign or numeral on the dash for each correct guess and draw a part of the hangman for each incorrect guess. HINT: If you don’t like the idea of drawing a hangman, just change it to something else and play ‘Racing Car’ or ‘Robot’ instead. Just decide upon the shape to be drawn before you start.
Many math games can be played with little or no equipment. Twenty Questions can be played with no equipment at all. One player thinks of a number within a set range, e.g. between 0 and 100. The other player/s asks questions about the number until they guess what the number is. Each question can only be answered with yes or no, e.g. Is it an odd number? Is it larger than 50?
Tips for selecting Math Games for Home School Math
- Make sure that the instructions are simple, clear and easy to follow.
- Make sure that the game will challenge the ability level of your child without being so difficult that it will frustrate them.
- Ensure that everyone is aware of all of the rules.
- Involve children in making and selecting the games to give them a sense of ownership of the games. This way they will be even keener to play as they will regard it as ‘my game’ or ‘the game that I made’.
- Let your child know why you are playing the game – what they will get from playing the game.
Get creative and you will find that there is no end to the number of games that you can use to increase math skills and increase math fun.