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8 Weeks of Playful Math for Families

Yes, your kids CAN learn to love math. Keep your children’s math skills fresh with my 8-week email series of math games and activities.

No purchase necessary! Just sign up for my email newsletter, and every week for the next two months you’ll automatically receive one of my favorite math club activities or an excerpt from my series of math game books.

Plus you’ll get a free download of my 24-page booklet How To Solve Math Problems: A Common-Sense Approach. And I’ll send you occasional news updates with playful math tips, resource links, and book sales or other promotions.

Click Here To Sign Up

Don’t like email? Then check out my new Let’s Play Math Sampler: 10 Family-Favorite Games for Learning Math Through Play. For the price of a cup of coffee, it’s a great way to get started with playful math.

PHOTO CREDITS: “The smiling sisters” photo by Caroline Hernandez and “Puddle Jumping” by Rupert Britton via Unsplash.com.

Playing with a Hundred Chart #35: The Number Grid Game

This is a pretty simple game, but it makes a nice variation on the Race-to-100 game for young children who need to work on counting by tens from any number.

See the Number Grid Game (PDF)

How to Play

You’ll need a 6-sided die, a hundred chart (printables here), and a small token to mark each player’s square. A crumpled bit of colored construction paper works well as a token.

Take turns rolling the die. If you roll:

  • 1: Move either 1 or 10 squares, your choice.
  • 2: Move either 2 or 20 squares.
  • 3–6: Move that number of squares.

The first player to reach the final square by exact count wins the game.

Variation #1: For a shorter game, the first player to move off the board wins. You don’t have to hit the final square by exact count.

Variation #2: For a longer game, if you cannot move your full roll forward, you must move backward. Rolling 6 is a “wild card” — you can move any number from one to ten.

Variation #3: Count down. Start at the highest number on your chart and subtract each roll, moving toward zero. If you have a chart like the original shown above, a player whose move goes past zero into negatives will add the number on their next roll.

More Ways to Play on a Hundred Chart

A hundred chart can provide mathematical play from preschool to high school. The list on my blog began many years ago with seven activities, games, and logic puzzles.

Wow, has it grown!

Discover 30+ Things To Do with a Hundred Chart

Morning Coffee – 4 Nov 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Monday morning coffee:

“Games aren’t just about practice and fluency. My favorite games create opportunities for learning, too. They spark discourse, promote the use of strategies, and allow students to dig into the mathematics.”

—Jenna Laib
The Simple-but-High-Leverage Game Collection: Making Games Routine

  • Have you read Pam Harris’s Development of Mathematical Reasoning series? Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Well worth your time!

“The teacher’s role is to help students change the way they think, in increasingly sophisticated ways. The goal is not answers. The goal is development. We don’t need students who can just answer a multiplication question, we need students who can reason multiplicatively.”

—Pam Harris
The Development of Mathematical Reasoning

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Playing with Math @ Arithmophobia No More

Check out the latest carnival of playful math for all ages:

Sonya put together this carnival of mathematical fun with numbers and shapes, delightful books, and games for all ages.

“There are two types of math games/activities. The first type of game is primarily for practicing math facts. It’s my least favorite math game … The other type of math game develops mathematical thinking. Those are my favorite. They are the kind of game/activity that makes everyone want to play.”

—Sonya Post

Each monthly Playful Math Education Blog Carnival brings you a great new collection of puzzles, math conversations, crafts, teaching tips, and all sorts of mathy fun.

It’s like a free online magazine of mathematical adventures, helpful and inspiring no matter when you read them. Enjoy!

Click Here to Read the Carnival Blog

Help Us Keep the Carnival Going

The Playful Math Blog Carnival wants you!

The carnival is a joint effort. We depend on our volunteer hosts to collect blog posts and write the carnival each month.

Putting together a blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s a great opportunity to share the work of bloggers you admire and to discover new math-friends online. I love that part of being a host!

Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, college professors, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math — if you would like to take a turn hosting the carnival, please speak up.

New Math Board Game: MULTI on Kickstarter

If the math classic The Product Game got together with Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe, this game would be their child.

According to game creator Federico Chialvo, “MULTI is a fantastic 2-player math game designed with the joy of mathematics in mind. This game is so fun your kids won’t want to stop playing, and neither will you!”

Originally designed for students in 2nd-5th grade, MULTI helps children develop fluency with multiplication facts and the relationship between multiples and factors. Even better, the rich strategy and gameplay can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

If you want to play math with an elementary-age child, check out the Kickstarter:

Click Here for the MULTI Game on Kickstarter

“Mathematics is a polarizing topic! For some, it is a fountain of wonder, beauty, and intrigue. For others, it is a cold dark thing, something to be avoided or even feared. Yet, my experience has shown that everyone can find joy in mathematics when it is presented in the right way.”

—Federico Chialvo
MULTI – Math Board Game – Fun For All Ages!

Morning Coffee – 28 Oct 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to enjoy with your Monday morning coffee:

“When you’re working every day, you’re not thinking, ‘What impact is this going to have on the world?’ You’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get this right.’”

—Gladys West
quoted in Dr. Gladys West: The Black Woman Behind GPS Technology

  • I like to keep a quick game in reserve for spare time in my homeschool co-op class. Kent Haines explains Sprouts and suggests ways to launch math discussions.

“I don’t get irritated by these mistakes. I desperately wait for such mistakes. Yes! Because I think it is a golden opportunity for the teacher to spot a student thinking this way. It presents just the right context and time for driving an enriching mathematical conversation in the whole class.”

—Rupesh Gesota
Part-2: Re-learning and Enjoying Polynomial Division with students

“To teach students SSS congruence without pointing out why this is so interesting is harmful for two reasons. First of all, this is an amazing result. It is the our job to point out amazing results! Triangles are rigid figures in a way that other polygons are not.”

—Rachel Chou
Teaching the Distributive Property

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 4 Oct 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Friday morning coffee:

  • In the spirit of cracking eggs to make omelets, Michael Pershan cracks open some of the ideas around Equations and Equivalence and relational thinking.

“My experience is that when I have vague hope that children will learn something from an activity that is related to the mathematics I want them to learn, they usually don’t.”

—David Wees
Hands on or minds on?

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.