Friday, November 13, 2015

Just Playing Games: Math Games Our Family Enjoys

Second Daughter has always loved games. I love the idea of playing games with my children, but I don't really love playing games. Incorporating them into our school day meant I felt more justified in letting the dishes or the laundry sit a few minutes (or an hour) longer. My checklist (play a math game with Second Daughter) made me accountable for devoting some of our lesson time to something she would enjoy as much as I enjoy reading aloud to her.

This year, I purchased Counting and Number Bonds: Math Games for Early Learners (Math You Can Play Book 1) and Addition and Subtraction: Math Games for Elementary Students (Math You Can Play Book 2) which I'm using with both Second Daughter and Second Son, but I've also continued our habit of playing a "math" game from our shelves once a week. I thought I'd share a few of our favorites. Once I started paying attention, I realized math concepts are hidden in many games. Second Daughter has also successfully argued for many of her favorite games based on counting and comparing skills. (Munchkin* comes to mind.)


Count Your Chickens - Second Son received this game as a gift and I love it. It's beautifully made, a cooperative game (everyone wins!), and is all about counting. I highly recommend it for the very young. If you can avoid losing the little chicks, this game would last through lots of young children learning to count.

Sum Swamp - I purchased this game when I first decided Second Daughter's kindergarten year would include math games. I wanted one on addition and this one had great reviews. Personally, I found it a bit repetitive, but there is no doubt that Second Daughter loved it. She and a friend played it about once a week for the entire school year. I think the swampy animals were a big attraction.

Blink -  I also purchased this card game. It's one of my favorites, but I almost always win. We started coming up with handicaps so it would be more of a contest.


Rat-A-Tat-Cat - We've enjoyed this game so much, I've given it as gifts to others. Comparing numbers, addition, memory, and strategy. This game is easier for younger players to win than Blink, too. My little ones love the silly illustrations on the cards.

Battleship - strategy and grids. First Son received this game as a gift years ago and we are all still playing it. At first, Second Daughter couldn't get through a whole game, but she's gained endurance over the past year or so.

Qwirkle - shape recognition, sets, and strategy. Second Daughter likes this game best if we work together to make as many qwirkles as possible.


Skippity - I received this game as a gift a few years ago. Mostly I like all the bright colors, but I'm certain there's math in there somewhere. I also like how it balances the players well, so children have a shot at winning even if an adult doesn't ignore the best moves.

Blokus - This game is probably my favorite of our "math" games. The bright colors and shapes are so inviting, the game pieces usually end up being used in individual play after the game is over. The last time we played, Second Daughter swept the game off the table and returned an hour or so later with this perfect square.

There are lots of other games with hidden (or obvious) math like Double Shutter, Connect 4, Monopoly Junior, and Trouble (which we have in multiple versions and which Second Daughter insists on calling "Pop the Bubble"), but the ones above are the ones we play and enjoy the most. Do you have any favorites to recommend? (A friend of mine has already suggested Perfection.)


* Please note Munchkin is not for all families. We've covered up the most egregious words on cards, but some families would probably rather just skip it altogether.

Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you click on one, put something in your cart, and purchase it within Amazon's specified time frame, I receive a small commission. Our family appreciates every little bit. Every link in the post is for something I purchased or something we received as a birthday or Christmas gift.

9 comments:

  1. We love Zeus on the Loose. And Fluxx is rather mathy if you think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We love Zeus on the Loose. And Fluxx is rather mathy if you think about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Based on your recommendation, we've given Zeus on the Loose as gifts, but we still don't have a copy of our own. I keep thinking we should get one.

      Delete
  3. And of course there's many more complicated strategy games like Seven Wonders that could count!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! Love the suggestions!! I have to handicap myself when I play Spot It (another fun one but not really math) with the kids by closing my eyes and praying a Hail Mary before I look. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good idea! I have a friend who counts to 25 (or 100 or 10, depending on the child) before claiming the card in Spot It.

      Delete
  5. My kids need no handicap at this point - between Spot it and Set, they are master spotters!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I understand your caveats about Munchkin for some families. For those who have the game, we recently did a couple of Munchkin math investigations

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! Thank you for sharing it. The next time First Son is looking through the cards just for fun, I might ask him to do something like that.

      Delete

Comments make me happy; thanks for speaking up!