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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slide into Summer Fun & Learning (Part 3 Math Games)

It hasn't happened in so long that we were all caught off guard.  It must have happened because of the extreme heat we have been having.  Just when we were getting ready to sit down and watch our favorite shows - the lights went out!  No television or internet! What's a child to do? 

What's a child to do?  Why, hone up on their math skills with some fun and easy games of course! Just like we did!  Playing board games or games on the computer will help keep math skills from sliding during the summer.  Here are some family favorites!

Yahtzee.  My daughter, her girlfriend and I played this game of strategy and probability that involves addition.  It was especially fun as we played by candlelight with lots of chatting and laughter.  Meanwhile, the girls, who are teenagers were practicing their basic math operations.  (For those who like playing games online there is a Yahtzee Online Version. Just make sure to turn off chat feature.)

Monopoly:  This classic board game is a sure hit with the family as they wait to see who has the most money at the end.  For older children it is a great review of counting money and you can even work on the skill of counting back change!  There is an online version by Hasbro for younger kids with a 'Lightning McQeen, Cars' theme and smaller values.  

Tower Blaster Online Game
Mancala, the ancient game with stones is a great way to practice counting and strategy.  For those who love online games try this online Mancala version or these other Math & Logic Games .   

Racko: I LOVE this game as it reminds me of my childhood. However, I use it in my classroom during math centers.  The player to put their cards in order first, wins. Click on the Racko link above to learn the rules.  An online version of this game is called "Tower Blaster".

For those computer lovers, here's a page full of fun math games is Johnnie's Math Fun.  There are all kinds of logic, puzzle and other type number games.  The logic games are even good for adults.

Revisit the games of your own childhood and you will likely find many connections to mathematics. Playing them with your child will surely bring about fond memories for all of you! 

Enjoy these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer while they last (and have some fun connecting with your kids while practicing math!).  Let me know what games you'll be playing in the comment section!


  1. What a great idea, Nancy! I need to play some games with my kids while they are still home, even if we don't lose power! Sometimes we are so overly-connected. Four people in one house, four laptops open. Yikes! Yes, real Yahtzee (not on the iPod) would be a great thing to do one evening. Thanks for some good math ideas!

  2. Hi Denise,
    Thanks for the comment. I agree that we can be overly connected. I have to seriously make an effort to disconnect myself. Fortunately, we are a game playing family (board, cards, sports) so there is an upswing to getting off the computer.
    My intent in sharing these basic games was to also point out that they really do have math connections. I'm sure we all can figure out the obvious connections to Monopoly, but sometimes a reminder brings things to the forefront of our minds.
    Thank you for your comment.

  3. Loved it! I remember playing Racko - it was one of my favorites as well. I'll have to try it again.


  4. What fun to play Yahtzee by candle light. Not only do those games help with math skills, they are great relationship builders... How much fun we had playing those games as a family! Great post Nancy!

  5. @ Teresa - Thanks for commenting. I'm sure your daughter would love Racko!

    @ CarolAnn - you are right! These games are great relationship builders, and they are great for other lessons like learning to wait and take turns, being a good winner/loser as well as the math connections!

    Thank you both for taking the time to comment!

  6. My favorite summer memories with my kids are the evenings spent playing games! 24 Game is another good math game that can be played in the car, as well. It's a set of cards with 4 numbers on each card; players figure out how to add/subtract/divide/multiply the numbers (using each number only once) to come up with 24. Various levels available - has a good selection; there's an online version at, but playing the traditional cards face to face with the family or friends brings such added value and life-long memories!

  7. @ Ann - Thanks so much for sharing the game 24! I use it at school and hadn't thought to add it to the summer list! The various levels do make it interesting and fun for all. I will also check out the online version.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on this post!

  8. Hi Nancy,
    I love the idea of promoting math games for summer learning. My daughter is in High School, so her big focus is learning how to drive. However, my summer packet for my students included a lot of games from our Everyday Math Program. The packet, by the way, was optional. Additionally, during the school year I have my students do a "Math Game of the Week" as a part of their homework. This reminds parents that kids can learn and have fun by playing math games. Thanks for the great post.

  9. Hi Valerie,
    I love the Math game of the week. Not only does it get the student excited about math (& homework) but it involves the family too! We do not use the EM program so I have no experience with that - but wish we did as our program does not really challenge the we have to really supplement that piece of it.
    Thanks for stopping by. I'll be checking out your blog shortly!

  10. Hi Nancy
    Thank you so much for the links and ideas. I added them to my math games. I also love the idea of math game of the week. I include math games as a part of my daily math routine and what a great way for parents to see the value.

  11. Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for commenting. I have used games in my classroom but not daily and I think that will change this year. There has been a lot of research done on the value of playing games in the classroom.

    So glad you stopped by!


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