Games - which are the best?

Kim Schroter
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:17 am

Games - which are the best?

Unread post by Kim Schroter »

We're drilling addition and subtraction facts and I'd like to add in some fun math games.

We have Yahtzee, Uno, and Mancala which require some math skills.

I'm wanting some other ideas. So, what are the best?

Are there any you've been disappointed with and aren't worth the buy?

I'm interested in games at Singapore level 2A and more advanced.

Married to John 12 years
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Unread post by LizCT »

Target had a math bingo game in their $1 section that has simple addition & subtraction & slightly harder problems too.

For simple addition facts up to 6 + 6, we have been using two large foam dice from the dollar store and throwing them into a pyramid of cups on the floor and then adding them up.

War is a good one too that is listed in the MFW 1st grade manual. You can really tweak war to meet your needs for addition/multiplication.

Liz in CT
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Unread post by lisa062797 »

Yahtzee is definitely one of my son's favorites!

We also play a modified version of Candy Land. Instead of using the cards, we just roll 3 dice and add the total to move ahead. He really enjoys playing this way.
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Unread post by donutmom »

I sometimes check out this book from the library for a "fresh" idea:
Games for math : playful ways to help your child learn math from kindergarten to third grade written by Peggy Kaye

We play war--using flashcards. This can be done with any facts (addition, subtr., mult., & division).

We use dice too. My 6yo has a bag of "jewels" which he thinks is "cool". We roll dice (2 at this point) & highest number (adding or subtracting dice together) wins a jewel. Most at the end of the game is winner. I am wanting to buy more dice at a game store we have locally that has more than 6 sides--then we can practice all "families" of facts. (they have some with lots of sides).

For money, we have a game called Money Bags, that my kids love. Purchased at an educational store.

My children also really like Parcheesi. That involves thinking about your moves as well as dealing with the dice.

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Unread post by Suzq »

My sister-in-law gave us a card game called Addtraction. The cards have either the plus or minus symbol with a number. The first hand is played using the target number of 10, second hand 11 and so on until 21 I think. You have to make your hand equal the target number. I think you could use regular cards by defining the black as minus and the red as plus. Maybe make face cards 0's. Not sure if that would work as I am not sure how many of each denomination are in the pack.
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Unread post by lyntley »

definitely muggins or knockout
and another great book you can usually find at the library "Family Math"or "Family Math for Young Ones".
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Unread post by 705emily »

Scholastic makes math puzzles that I think are really great! The addition and subtraction set comes with 10 2-sided self checking puzzles and a neat activity guide. One side is addition--the other is subtraction. The center piece of the puzzle is the solution--say 7, then--to solve the puzzle you have to put the right equations that make up #7 in the puzzle, i.e.--3+4, 6+1, 5+2, and 4+3. They only fit one way.

They also make a "counting money" puzzle that is very similar--except to solve the puzzle--say $5.91 is the amount in the middle--the child has to count the money pictured on the puzzle pieces to find 4 other pieces that add up to $5.91. I think they were about $6-7 a piece.

Hope you find something that works! Blessings,
Irmi Gaut
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Unread post by kellybell »

I've got to second the suggestion of Peggy Kaye's Games for Math as it's a great resource for kids in about grades K through 3. The games are simple but very effective for teaching simple facts and place value. Upon reading the games in this book, I thought "these sound boring" but you know, the kids have really liked them.

The games reinforce basic math facts, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and place value. My kids like Double It! in that book best.

Another easy exercise from that book is some sort of math facts ladder. I forget the name of the activity, but it goes some thing like this... Make a ladder with 10 to 13 (depends on the facts) rungs on it. On each rung, put a number between 0 and 12 (whatever...) on it, but don't put them in order. Instead the numbers are probably something like 8,2,12,5,4,6,3,0,11,7,12,1,9. Put a penny on the bottom rung and set a time for a minute (or whatever goal you think is reasonable) and tell your student "times 3" (or "plus 5" or whatever) and he must start at the first rung and tell you the right answer. If the first rung is 8 and the facts you told him are "times 3" he must say 24. You say "yes!" if he's right and he moves to the next number (maybe 2) or you say "no!" if he's wrong and he doesn't move until he gets it right. If he makes it before the timer he gets a candy or nickel or sticker. This works good if he's working on a particular fact family. It doesn't work well with division (unless you set up a special ladder of 7 facts, for example) or subtraction (unless he's comfortable with negatives or you make a special ladder again).

Another fun game from that book is Grasshopper. It's fun but not really fast. Put the numbers between 1 and 20 on 20 standard sheets of paper. Let your child start on his age (or his favorite number). Then you give things to do with that number. If he's standing on 8, you simply say "plus 3" and he hops to 11. From there you say, "minus 4" and he hops to 7. You can do all different operations as well as mental math. Often my two youngest like to do this and I give them each different operations. If my 1st grader is standing on 7 I might say "double your number" so she hops to 14. My 3rd grader, who might be on 12 I might say, "subtract 8, take the square root, add six, and double it" and he ends up on 16. This is good for wiggly kids.

Some are more "activities" than they are games. One example is just taking graph paper and rolling a pair of dice. If you roll a 2 and a 4 you draw a line 2 boxes long and then from the same starting point draw a perpendicular line 4 boxes long and make the box from those lines and see the box is 8 boxes big. Color them in and you get a pretty picture.

As for board games, we like:
Money Bags
Scholastic's Spin, Spend, and Earn (both of those are money games)

Monopoly Jr. for pre-K kids (helps teach very basic addition facts and doubling facts). Games, games, games.

Clue Jr. is cute too.

I agree with previous posts that Yahtzee and War are fine games.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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rightstart math

Unread post by Happy2BMotherof3 »

Rightstart Math has their own math games book that has a lot of excellent math games. It can be used for those not using the program. HTH
Shelly Best
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Unread post by Shelly Best »

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:59 am

"In addition" (do you like that clause?), we have used the board game Arithmachips. It is like checkers, but in order to jump a chip (checkers would be the comparison) you have to do the math fact and get it correct.
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Unread post by JenniferF »

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:17 am

I might just write the numbers in chalk on the driveway to play the grasshoppers game (since there is too much stuff on the...uh, i mean, um, since we have such small floor space.......)

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Unread post by kellybell »

mgget5 wrote:She is 6. She is not having any trouble with the material, just constantly complaining about hating math.
Go check your library for Peggy Kaye's "Games for Math" and check out the book. Once you find that book try to play Double It! (check the index) and whatever other little games are in there.

Play store.

Play war.

Group things into similar groups. If you make three groups of four each, you have 12 things. If you make two groups of six, wow that's also twelve. How about four groups of three. What happens if you make four groups of four?

Play on graph paper.

Learn to skip count.

My second daughter loved loved loved playing Monopoly Jr. when she was about four. Find games like that. Yahtzee is a great game too.


Shelve the math curriculum. No formal program needed.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

cbollin wrote:War - That's the card game where the person with the higher number showing wins the round, right?
Yes, and you can leave off the face cards so you just work on 1-10, or even start with only the 1-5 cards. (aces as ones)

As she gets that down, you can add to it. Put down a card and declare what your card +1 makes.

The next step can be to each play two cards (or one card + one die/dice). You can choose an operation to do on them such as addition. Just take out the cards that are too hard for her (or tape over the side of the die that's too high and write a lower number on it).

She'll never know it's math!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by kellybell »

War is really a winner with us. Not only are you doing comparisons, but you, the wise mom, can comment on what is going on:

1. The first time through, if we counted right, then we both should finish our stacks at the same time. The second time through, the one who did better on the first round will last longer than her opponent.

2. Play with two decks. Look how the red deck and the blue deck intersperse. When you play with two decks you KNOW that both players started with the same exact cards, but in a different order. Who wins?

3. What's the best use of a 10? To capture a 9 of course. Capturing a 2 is a waste of a 10. So, what can you conclude? The best use of a card is to capture the card one below it. Don't send a man to do a boy's job?

4. Every few minutes, compare how both players are doing. Who is ahead right now? Does the lead ever swing to the other player? If so, what caused that.

5. Play war with three people. How will you resolve a war between two of the three player? When do you need to have a "battle" between two cards? When the third card is lower (if it's higher then why is there no need to have a war? Ask your child!)

6. What cards change hands a lot? The low cards. What cards stay put? Mainly the aces (or 10s if you aren't playing face cards). Why is that? How can an ace trade hands if it's the highest card (only in a battle). How can a 2 not change hands (in a tie, or if saved in a battle).

7. Take turns predicting if you're going to lose or keep your curent card. Say you flip over a four. Before you see your partner's card, guess if you're going to keep or lose yours? Were you right? A variation might be to have both players look secretly at the top card and, without knowing the opponent's card, guess "win" or "lose." Then, put both cards down. How did you do guessing?

Shhh, don't tell them you are learning.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Zeus on the Loose

Unread post by dhudson »

Zeus on the Loose

We bought this game last year when we were studying RTR for something fun but as we played it tonight I realized how great it was for math! The point of the game is to get to 100 with a community pile of numbers and have the Zeus character. Last year the twins couldn't do all the math in their head but this time there were no paper or fingers needed. (Yeah Singapore) I think we'll be playing more often to get faster at adding and subtracting in our heads.

Any other great games out there?
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Julie in MN
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Games for Math and Spelling

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Dawn,
Here is my list but I know I'm forgetting many. I usually hunt for a game at convention time:

The game of 24, various versions, teaches logical thinking as well as equations
War, using whatever operation we are working on
Games in Singapore math HIG & on CD-ROMs
MathDice & various dice games I have gotten through Scholastic etc.
The Math Game (huge set of games, can often find used)
Family Math, a book full of ideas (at local bookstores)
Any type of money & change-making practice -- real & pretend
You can play Bingo using a 100's board & whatever operation you are working on (or print one out online)
Learning to use an abacus and/or Right Start math games

Quarter Mile Math

The singapore guide has a game where you make index cards for various "matching" fractions that equal one whole.

Fraction dominoes - We have a domino game where each domino has a "picture" of a fraction on one side and the numeric symbol on the other. Probably could make one.

For equivalent fractions, we have an old fraction circle game that probably is no longer made but really worked. You roll 2 fraction dice & get to take those 2 fractions of circles. As you accumulate circle pieces you put them together to complete full circles. At the end you see who has the most full circles. You visually see that they aren't all equivalent. Somehow familiarity seemed to make the concept sink in.


Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Games for Math and More Subjects

Unread post by kellybell »

We also have Zeus on the Loose but cannot find it in stores any more (a few times we thought it would make a nice birthday gift for a friend). Anyone seeing it in their stores?

We like:

Games for Math (Peggy Kaye) games
Yahtzee (and Jr. Yahtzee)
Monopoly Jr (for preschoolers)
Spin, Spend, and Earn

Bible Baseball

Scrambled States of America
States Bingo
The ECC games
Take Off!

Apples to Apples Jr.
Scrabble (played in "take two" manner)

Blockus (normal and "Trigon")
Herd your Horses
Euchre (any Michiganders out there???)
Catch the Match (preschoolers and young elementary)
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).