First and foremost, HAVE FUN! The suggestions below are good for all elementary in that they can easily be adapted for primary or extended for upper elementary.
Just like conversation starters at a party, here are some everyday things that can help you get the conversation started:
- How late are we for school?!
- Guess how much gas I need in the car? How much will it be?
- Open up your cupboard or junk drawer: how many math questions could you come up with, now solve them!
- Grocery store math: so much math! How many (insert your child’s favourite food here) can I buy for $5? If they get it right, let them buy it!
- Baking: estimate how much ¼ cup is, how can we split the pizza into 8 equal parts? And then…let them do it!
- Credit! Rory knew he was getting $60 from his Gran for his birthday, so when he wanted a Rescue Bot but didn’t have any money, we used this opportunity to talk about credit!
There are math board games out there, but it is also easy to create your own. You can also take some of the easy games and modify them to make them harder or vice versa. Some of these games you can find as apps, but why increase screen time when you don’t have to? All too soon, there will come a time when your child would prefer to play with a computer; so enjoy this time with them now, when all they want to play with is you!
Activities For Fluency:
- Tiny Polka Dot by Math for Love
- Osmo Numbers
- Licence Plate game: add/subtract/multiply/divide the numbers on passing cars!
- Lego structures (build a structure worth 50, how many different structures can you make that multiply to 24 (or any target number): 2X12, 3X8, 4X6 etc.)
- Yahtzee or any other scoring game (fluency in scoring)
- Make up games with cards or dice that include math facts:
- War (person with highest sum/difference takes the cards)
- Blackjack (add to whatever number you like, ex: 40)
- What’s the difference? (first person to say it, wins)
- Go fish (for facts to 20 or another target number)
- Concentration (match = sum to 15 or another target number)
Activities For Spatial Reasoning:
- Tangrams (Osmo Tangrams)
- Rush Hour
- Cat Stax
- Dog Pile
Activities For Fun:
- Balance Beans (problem-solving, algebra)
- Set (problem-solving, logic)
- Blokus (problem-solving, spatial reasoning)
- Qwirkle (logic and fluency)
- Logic puzzles (problem-solving)
- Math puzzles or contests
Have other suggestions for good math games? Leave them in the comments below!