With the closure of schools due to COVID-19 and the lockdown, many parents are feeling very overwhelmed with how they are going to keep their children busy over the next few weeks. Whilst still keeping their children’s skills sharp at home. As a primary school teacher, I believe the easiest way to make sure this happens is to play games at home.
Many parents know this but feel they don’t know where to begin and often question if the game they are playing is educational. First off, I believe all games are educational as they promote positive social skills such as taking turns, learning how to win and how to lose. They also promote critical thinking and reasoning.
The school subject I feel most passionate about is Maths so I would like to guide you on some ideas of fun and easy Maths games you can play at home with items you will probably have in your games cupboard.
Many people around the world have come up with routines or schedules for their children. Most of these include some sort of school work and some games. Why not kill two birds with one stone by letting them play an educational game.
Why Use Games To Learn?
Games are engaging for children and they are learning even when they don’t realise it. Most Maths games are focused on certain skills and provide the children with repeated practise of these skills. Once they understand the rules of the games they can play most of these independently.
What Items Will I Need To Play These Games?
- Dice (2 or more depending on the game)
- Playing cards
- Uno cards are a bonus
- Counters- buttons, stones, sticks, popcorn kernels, beans, Lego pieces or bottle tops (anything that you can count)
- Some cardboard/paper and a pen.
Early Maths Learning
Young children from nursery school age to about Std. 2 need to play games that include counting, sorting, describing numbers and basic addition and subtraction practice. Each game can be altered to work for the ability of your child. For example, if your child only knows the numbers to 5 or 6 then only work with the numbers to 5 or 6.
Below, I will give you a variety of ideas of games to play and I have tried to give you variations of these games to alter the level of difficulty for your child, depending on their age.
There is a never-ending list of games you can play to help your children with Maths and these are just a few ideas to get you started. Please don’t overlook the usual board games such as Snakes and Ladders, Rummikub and Uno etc. Any game that involves numbers, dice or counting forwards and backwards on a board are educational and will help your child’s Maths skills.
Don’t forget to be patient, encourage your children and have fun playing these games. Another good suggestion is to point out ways to make addition easier for them. If you notice they have rolled a double or a sum they know then remind them that they know this one. Also, encourage them to hold the biggest number in their head and to count on the smaller number e.g. If they roll a 6 and a 3 then they touch the dice that has the 6 and say 6 then count the rest of the dots on the other dice, 7, 8, 9.
Egg Box Bingo
Write the numbers 2 to 12 in an egg box or boxes and put one star for a free turn. Place a token on the star for your free turn. Take turns to roll two dice and count all the dots. Cover that number in the egg box with a counter. The first person to complete a straight line in the egg box calls out BINGO. If you roll a number that is already covered then you skip your turn.
Variation: For younger children only use one dice and the numbers 1 to 6. The first person to fill the egg box calls out bingo.
Make two face off cards with the numbers 2 to 12. Take turns to roll the dice and cover up the number you have rolled. If you roll a number that is already covered then you skip your turn. The first person to cover up all the numbers is the winner.
Variation: For younger children only use one dice and the numbers 1 to 6.
Counting To 10
Layout cards ace to 10 in order. Have your child count out the number of any object to match the number on the card.
Easier: Place counters on top of the symbol on the card
More challenging: mix up the order of the numbers or get them to order the cards then do the counting.
Place number cards on the ground and turn all the dominoes upside down. Take turns to flip a domino over, count all the dots and place it on the appropriate number.
For younger children only go up to the number they know or are working on but just make sure you take the larger number dominoes out of the pile.
Use ace to 10 cards
Deal out all the cards among players. Each player turns over their top card at the same time. The player with the greatest value wins and takes everyone’s displayed cards. If the values are the same then flip again and the winner takes all the turned over cards. The person with the most cards wins the game.
Variation: Play with dice instead of cards and tally how many rounds each player wins. There are many variations below to make this more difficult for older children.
Decide how to sort the deck of cards (colour, number or suit). Deal out all the cards. Take turns to draw a card and place it in the appropriate group.
If you enjoyed these ideas then watch this space for the next post with even more Maths Games You Can’t-Miss: More Foundation Phase Fun. Have FUN!
- Maths Games You Can’t-Miss: More Foundation Phase Fun - 17/04/2020
- Maths Games At Home: Foundation Phase Fun - 06/04/2020