Ok, I’ll Admit It, Math Wasn’t Always Fun

Looking back on my traditional math experience, I can honestly say that there were times when math got a little boring.  Having to do a worksheet with 20-30 of the same types of problems was not my idea of fun. Let’s be real, it could bore even the biggest math enthusiast.

So why do we even make our kids do that kind of work if we know that are going to get bored with it?

Now, there are definitely times when kids need repetition.  They may need experience working with the theorem they just created. Maybe they are doing a bunch of problems in order to find the pattern that will help them create their hypotheses.  Maybe they just need a little review.

There are lots of good reasons to have kids practice the same types of problems (just to get their math in for the day isn’t one of them), however, repetition and practice doesn’t have to be boring.

Luckily there are a lot of other options available to elicit practice than just doing boring old worksheets.

 3 Awesome Games That Make Practice Fun!

The best way I have found to make repetition fun and engaging is through games.  Here are 3 games that your kids will love:

  1. (Addition/ Subtraction/ Whatever) War

This game takes the traditional rules of war (each player flips a card, the person with the highest number takes all the cards) and adapts it to work with any type of numbers or procedures.

  • For your beginning adders, have them each flip 2 cards and then add them. The player with the highest sum wins.
  • For students just learning fractions, have them flip 2 cards, put the smallest number as the numerator and figure out who has the largest fraction.
  • If you kids are reviewing their basic operations, let the winner pick the operation and whether the highest or lowest total wins. They can even decide how many digits they want each number to have.  Flip 5 cards to make one 3-digit number and one 2-digit number to multiply together.

The possibilities are endless!

  1. Tic-Tac-Total

Just like the traditional tic-tac-toe with a twist.  Take a regular tic-tac-toe set up and add a problem in each square.  In order to mark the square with either an “X” or “O” on your turn, correctly solve the problem in the box.  Answer it wrong and the other person gets the box.  First person to get three in a row wins.

Here’s an example for a student beginning Algebra: 

You can place any number and type of problems in each square.  Be creative!  This is great for review too!

  1. First to Four

This game is played on a 6 x 6 grid.  The object of the game is to get 4 of your squares in a row.  To do this the first player marks two matching squares with his color or symbol.  Matching squares depend on what problems your kid is working on at the time.

  • For beginning subtracters, fill the squares with subtraction problems. Make 4 problems that subtract to 0, 4 problems that subtract to 1, 4 problems that subtract to 2, and so on till the board is full.  Matching squares are two squares that subtract to the same amount.
  • Below is an example of a board you could make for kids who are practicing finding equivalent fractions. A match is any two equivalent fractions.

The Fun Doesn’t Stop There!

There really is an unlimited amount of games that can be created just like the previous ones.  If you want some real fun, encourage your kid to make up their own!

Remember to have fun with these and make sure that you continue to push your student to think and problem solve because, after all, isn’t that what math is all about?

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