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10 Fun Math Games and Activities
10 Ways To Make Math Fun
Has math become a battle at your house? Are you searching for ways to make math be more fun, as well as educational?
During my years of teaching in the public schools, as well as my more recent homeschooling years, I've come up with a variety of ways of making math more fun! Below you'll find 10 of my favorite math games and activities!
Different activities address different learning styles, so why not pick and choose a variety? Above all, though, pick ones you and your child enjoy doing!
The more hands-on and fun you can make math, the more math your child will learn!
Fun Math Idea # 1: Play Store!
Playing Store Is An Excellent Way To Practice Math Skills! - Simple adding and subtracting, multiplying, figuring out how much something costs if it's a certain
There is so much to learn from playing store!
Younger children can practice counting money, or making change. An older child can practice figuring out tax, or discounts when an item is on sale (20 % off, for example.) Kids can practice adding and subtracting, with or without decimals, multiplying ("I'll take three of those balls at $1.50 each, please!")..and so much more! Middle Schoolers could even practice adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers while playing store.
Playing Store is one of our favorite math activities!
Although this comes with play money, I feel it's best to use real money at times when you'll be interacting with your child or supervising the play. This helps children learn to recognize and correctly identify real money.
Fun Math Idea #2: Go To A Real Store!
What Math Can You Learn At A Real Store?
Counting money, adding and subtracting, multiplying, percentages, comparing prices,and more
You can learn some of the same type stuff at a real store, as well as compare prices (taking quantity into account), as you can when playing store at home. Plus you can get your real shopping done at the same time! It does take a while longer to shop this way, but even if your child only "finds the best deal" for two or three of the things you're purchasing, at least he/she is getting to see math being used for real purposes!.
If your child is given some money for his (or her) birthday or other special day, have him add up what he wants at the store before he gets to the cash register to make sure he has enough money. Let him hand the cashier the money himself. Counting out the money is part of the learning experience! Don't forget to have him double check to make sure he got back the right change!
Fun Math Idea #3: Sing A Math Song!
Sing a Math Song! - Learn addition, subtraction, skip counting, multiplication, and more from a song!
Songs have a way of sticking with us. There are quite a few math songs available on the market. They teach everything from the addition and subtraction facts, to skip counting, to multiplication and division, and more!
You can make up your own songs as well! Does your child need to learn the prime numbers? Can you tape record you and your child singing them to a familiar tune? Play it back everyday, and sing along again!
Remember Schoolhouse Rock? What a great way to remember the multiplication facts, and a whole host of other educational facts too! This edition includes old favorites like, "3 is a Magic Number," "My Hero, Zero" and many more.
Fun Math Idea #4: Play A Game!
Play a Math Game - Or change a regular game into a math learning opportunity!
There are so many ways to incorporate games into your homeschool math lessons or homework assistance.
1. You can use family games, such as checkers or Sorry or any of a number of other fun family games! If math skills aren't a natural part of the game, just have your child answer a math fact before they take their turn. You can also do this with paper and pencil games, such as Tic Tac Toe. It's a great way to review math facts! (And it's a whole lot more fun than just plain flash cards!)
2. Look for games which teach the specific skills you're working on. There are lots of math games at the teacher stores and on Amazon which are designed to teach skills with money, using a checkbook, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.
3. Change regular games, such as the Toss Across pictured here, into educational math games.
Smath - Create Your Own Math Equations, using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
This game is a lot like scrabble, but with math equations. Smath is our FAVORITE store-bought math board game!
The tiles contains numbers, signs, and parentheses. Put them together, crossword puzzle style, on the board to create valid math equations. Bonus squares on the board help players earn additional points.
Sum Swamp - An Addition and Subtraction game
Journey around the Sum Swamp by adding and subtracting the dice. This game also teaches about even and odd numbers. I hope you get to take the "Crocodile Short-Cut," but don't get stuck in the "Endless loop!" This game is great for kindergardeners through 2nd or 3rd graders.
Dino Math Tracks - A place value game
In this game, children race around a rainbow with their prehistoric animal playing pieces, learning about place value and four digit numbers in the process! This is a very clever game!
Head Full of Numbers - Shaking the dice out of the head adds to the fun in this game!
Create equations using addition, subtraction, and if desired, multiplication and division.
Roll the 6 dice, set the sand timer, and quickly make as many equations as you can from the dice. For younger children, stick to addition and subtraction. As your children grow, add multiplication and division! Because everyone plays at the same time, no one has to sit and wait until their turn. Numbers on the dice include: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
Pigs - Each player must add up their own points each turn.
To play pigs, roll the "pig dice." Will one or both of your pigs land on their backs with their feet up in the air? Or maybe your pigs will land leaning forward on their snouts! The way the pigs land determines your score for that roll. You can keep rolling as long as you like each turn (adding your points as you go), but if you roll two pigs that are touching - watch out, as you've just lost all your points gained so far in the game! Knowing when to stop rolling and pass the pigs to the next player is an important part of the game because if the pigs land lying down but on opposite sides of their bodies, not only is your turn over, but you score 0 for that turn.
We love Pigs!! We play it at home, and take it on vacation to play with all our relatives too! Pigs can be played with any number of people, from 2 on up! And it's a great way to practice adding in your head as you keep tally of your own score during a turn! This is a favorite at our house!
Fun Math Idea #5: Use Math Manipulatives!
Math Manipulatives - Math-U-See Manipulatives
Manipulatives not only make math more fun, they make it easier to understand. When a child understands WHY he's supposed to do something in mathematics, he becomes a much better mathematician. Comprehension is at least as important as getting a problem right! In fact, I'd rather have a child miss a particular problem, but understand the reasoning behind why it works the way it does, than get every problem right yet have no understanding of what's really happening.
Math-U-See Manipulatives And Curriculum are very popular in the homeschooling community! Not only are the manipulatives usually available on ebay, but often times you can find good deals on the curriculum as well.
In addition to Math-U-See Blocks, we use (or have used in earlier years), unifix cubes, fraction circles, pattern blocks, beads and other items for making patterns, and quite frequently even homemade manipulatives to meet our needs at that moment.
Using the fraction circles, add 2/4 and 2/4 together and see what it makes.
Now add 3/4 and 1/2. Is this more or less than 1? How much more or less is it?
Rainbow Fraction Deluxe Circles - These are excellent for learning about fractions!
I have three of these fraction circle sets, and have used them year after year when we study fractions in our homeschool lessons. We really love these! They make understanding fractions so much easier!
Deluxe Fraction Tower Activity Set - Great for fractions, decimals and percents!
Snap the cubes together to learn abstract decimal, fraction, and percentage concepts.
Unifix cubes - Unifix cubes are great for counting, sorting by color, more than / less than, sequencing, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing!
Here are a few ideas for using Unifix Cubes.Make a train with the following colors: red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow.... Ask your child what comes next. Later, once they begin to grasp the concepts of patterns, they can make their own!
You can teach your child to count with them by having them TOUCH each cube as they say the number.
Have your child sort the cubes by their colors. Later, create several "trains" of cubes and have them sort the trains by number of cubes in the train.
They're also great for teaching addition and subtraction, and many other math skills!
Cuisenaire Rods - This is a classic math manipulative!
This set of Cuisenaire rods contains 74 wood rods, which is enough for two students working together. They can be used for so many things: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and more.
Although Cuisenaire rods also come in plastic, get the wooden ones. The sound of them clicking together is so much nicer.
Fun Math Idea #6: Race Your Child!
Who Will Win?
Race Your Child! - Who can be the first one to get the problem done...correctly?
Copy on another piece of paper the same problem your child is getting ready to do. Each of you grab a pencil... On your mark, get set, GO! The first one to finish gets a point. BUT the answer must be correct. Both parties must finish the math problem too. It's no fair just sitting there waiting for the other to do all the work! Make two columns on the side of your paper and label one of them with your child's name and the other with your name. Keep up with the scores using tally marks under the winner's name.
(Note: If you find you're winning too many rounds, give your child a little bit of a head start. Allow your child to start, then begin counting (in your head so as not to get the numbers all mixed up in your child's head) slowly to 10, and then start the problem yourself. On the other hand, if your child is winning more than his share, maybe you ought to be the one to ask for a headstart!
When a page of pre-algebra problems has been staring my son in the face, we often turn the work into fun with this game! I now know more pre-algebra than I did when I took the course myself!
Fun Math Idea #7: Get Active!
1. Take a ball and go for a walk down your street with your child. Call out a math fact, and bounce the ball to your child. He or she catches it, calls out the answer, and bounces it back! If your child can't remember an answer, go ahead and help them figure it out, and then call that same fact out again in a few minutes.
2. Play Horse with your child and a basketball. Before taking a shot, you each have to answer a math fact!
3. Does your child love roller skating? Allow him or her to skate around in a large circle. Each time he or she gets back to where you are waiting, he has to answer one or two more math facts. (Maybe even 5 math facts, if it's a big circle he's skating in, and if he knows his facts fairly well but just needs a little review.)
4. Does your child like to hoola-hoop? How many math facts can she answer before dropping the hoop?
5. The possibilities are unlimited! Look at what your child enjoys doing, be creative, and come up with a way to incorporate math into it! (Of course, don't make him do math every time he does his favorite activity! Just use this idea ever so often!)
Fun Math Idea #8: Turn Math Into A Story!
If your child just stares at his math paper, or daydreams out the window, why not turn his math into a story - a real life story your child can understand.
Money, for example! Or baseball cards! Or sports! Use whatever interests your child, if you can!
-7 - 3 =
"If you owe Dad $7 for a toy you bought last week, and you owe him another $3 for a toy you bought today, how much do you owe Dad altogether?
( Note: a negative number is like owing someone that amount and a positive number is like receiving that amount.)
-2 + 5 =
"If you owe me $2 for a toy you bought last week, and you've now earned your allowance of $5, after you pay me what you owe me, how much will you have left?"
-6 + 8 =
"If you gave your friend 6 baseball cards, and he gave you 8 in return, how many would you have?"
4 X 2 =
"If your dad, brother, you and me all wanted to go ice skating, how many ice skates would we need?"
If they still have trouble even after the story, pull out the dollar bills or the baseball cards, and let them move the items around according to the story. If your child is first learning this skill, pull out the real life items from the very beginning! The more REAL you can make their math, the better they'll understand it!
Here's Another Way To Turn Math Into A Story! - Learn Multiplication and Division with Times Tales
These are short little stories that help kids learn their upper multiplication and division facts. There are characters, that correspond with specific numerals, which are used over and over in the stories. This helps the child remember which story goes with which set of numerals.
We used these a few years ago and have since loaned our copy to another homeschooling family who've enjoyed them as well!
Fun Math Idea #9: Play Math Games On The Computer Or DS!
Times Attack - My son loved this fun PC "video game" for learning the multiplication facts!
It takes a lot of repetition and practice to memorize all the times tables. Even after a child has them memorized, continuing to practice them is so important! This game turns practicing multiplication facts into a video game!
Math Blaster in the Prime Adventure - This one's for the DS!
Fun Math Idea #10: Have Your Child Create A Math Game!
Child Created Math Game
Have Your Child Make Up Their Own Math Game!
The sky's the limit here! Just have them use things you have around the house, plus maybe some poster board from the store if they'd like it. Help them out while they create their game - if they'd like for you to do so. Otherwise, use the time to create a game for the two of you to play another day!
Bonus # 1: Adrian Bruce - Free Printable Math Games!
Free Printable Games
By Adrian Bruce
I've used a variety of Adrian Bruce's FREE printable educational games over the years. You select a game, print it on your computer (cardstock is best, as it helps the game be more durable for repeated use!), cover the pieces in clear contact paper if desired, cut them out, and play! You can store the pieces in a small ziplock bag, or put a rubber band around them.
I particularly love Adrian Bruce's reading games, but his math games are awesome too! There's no cost involved, other than the cost of ink and cardstock for your printer.
To view and/or download some of his games, check out:
While you're on his site, look for his free subscription service. If you'll provide him with your name and email address, he'll notify you when he's added new games to his site! And no, he won't send you any spam!!
Bonus #2: Rocket Mind Games!
Crayola Rocket Minds Games
Rocketminds, by Crayola, makes a variety of hands-on fun educational games for kids.
In the photograph at the very top of the page are two large colorful dice. They are used in a game called Math For Kicks which was created by Rocketminds. In Math For Kicks, players take turns kicking (or tossing) three large inflatable dice into the air. Two of the dice have numbers on them, and the three has addition signs, subtraction signs, and "extra turn" signs, which indicate what the child is to do with the numbers they rolled. The fun comes in...well, with getting to kick large inflatable dice for one thing, but also from some cards which give various silly, goofy, or funny tasks for the child to do, such as singing a song while hopping backwards 5 times..things like that. The game is a LOT of fun, and is a great way to review addition and subtraction facts!
P.S. We played it in a hallway and never had any problems with knocking lamps or other things over. If you had a large playroom or other open area, that'd be another great place to play it. In fact, the directions mention it's fine to play it inside or outside. Grass won't make the dice pop!
We also have one of their spelling games called, Step 'n Spell. In this game, kids spell out words by stepping on the letters in order on a large plastic floor mat. You can play it as a game, or as just an activity. Get creative with the rules, and take your own turns jumping on the mat as well! Challenge your child to notice when you misspell a word by jumping on a wrong letter!
We also have and have enjoyed playing the Rocketmind game, Spin, Spend, and Earn! This game teaches kids about money. It's a lot of fun too! If I remember correctly, the players of the game pretend to do chores (which are told to them on game cards) to earn money. When they have enough money, they can buy various items that are for sale. The game can be easily adjusted to be harder or easier, depending upon the level of your child. For example, you can have things priced in just dollars, or include coins too, so that your children have to add in decimals.
Ebay sometimes has various Rocketmind games for sale. If there are any currently available, hopefully you'll find them listed here.
This site also usually has some Rocketmind games for sale --> The Find
Tell us about yourself - What brings you to this learning games site today?
Tell us about yourself
Additional Math Resources - Online Math Activities and Games
- Online Math Games for PreK to Algebra! (Crickweb)
This is a collection of online math games for everyone from preK up to students studying algebra! Games help students learn about shapes, fractions, decimals, odd and even numbers, Venn diagrams, and others.
- Online Numeracy Games (ICT)
These online games include place value, counting, addition, subtraction, odd and even, multiplication and rounding, and more.
- Free Online Logic Puzzles!
This website includes 20 logic puzzles with a wide variety of difficulty levels.
- 10ticks Maths Games and Activities
Practice your addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and algebra while playing games!
What age is the child or children for whom you're looking for math games or activities?
What age is the child or children for whom you're looking for math games or activities?
© 2009 JanieceTobey