Homemade Math Games

Playing math games with the family is a fun way to reinforce learning.
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Help your child learn and practice basic mathematics skills with engaging activities that won’t seem like studying at all. Interesting math games that use manipulatives, cards or exercise can reinforce concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, decimals and fractions. Even elementary school-age kids who claim to dislike math will find an assortment of homemade math games hard to resist.

Math Bingo

Kids will need to solve basic math problems to win a round of math bingo. Create an assortment of cards featuring five rows of five numbers. Tailor the numbers to your child’s current math lessons—if he’s adding numbers one through 10, for example, only use numbers from one through 20 on the bingo cards. If he’s up to the 12 times tables, create cards with numbers ranging from 1 to 144. To play, state a math problem such as “10 times 10.” If a player has “100” on his bingo card, mark it with a coin or small plastic disc. The first player to mark five squares in a row wins the round.

Number Cards

Write the numbers zero through nine on 3-by-5-inch index cards to use in an assortment of homemade math games. For instance, practice the concept of more or less by having players draw two cards to see who has the higher number. To practice place value, place a decimal card on the table, and then have players draw one, two or three number cards. See which player can arrange his cards to create the number with the highest value. You can also practice speed addition, subtraction or multiplication by tossing two cards on the table at a time to see how many problems your child can answer in one minute.

Stair Hopping

Teach the concept of addition and subtraction to younger children with an active math game. Place stickers or labels on the steps to number them from 1 to 10. If you’re outside, try marking the steps with colorful sidewalk chalk. Give your child a simple math problem and tell him to start on the step that corresponds with the first number. If the problem is “three plus five,” for example, have him stand on the number three step and hop up five steps to reach number eight. If you’re working on subtraction, show him how to start on the high number and walk down the steps to find the correct answer.

Food Fractions

Introduce the concept of fractions with edible manipulatives that will hold the kids’ attention. For example, use a cheese pizza or apple pie to conduct the math learning activity. Cut the circle into eight (or six) pieces and create a game by removing different combinations of slices to see if your child can identify fractions such as 1/4, 3/4, 1/6 and 1/2.

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