Three words: Shut-the-Box. Farkle. Yahtzee.
OK, that might be five words but who's counting? These are great games for any age and are a wonderful way of getting students to practice their number sense. I particularly like Shut-the-Box: it is something I have played over a cup of tea with my children in a Tim Hortons.
These can range from simple games like Snap, Pairs or Marilyn Burns's Oh No 99! game to more complicated games like Euchre and (my favourite) Cribbage. Playing these games necessarily involves using Math: from simple comparing of numbers (Snap) to more complicated decision making (in Cribbage, which of these two cards should I put in my opponent's box?)
Spatial Reasoning Games
Math is more than number sense so it's important to work on our spatial reasoning. Kanoodle is probably one of the most engaging puzzles that I know of and has been a huge hit with any kid (and adult) that I've shared it with.
Other great games include Tantrix...
And if you want something for your tablet, I highly recommend the app Flow Free.
Try a yohaku puzzle each day!
For older students, try one of the many from the yohaku website or Twitter feed @yohakupuzzle. Or, if you have younger kids, create your own and leave them on the fridge!
I'd also recommend kakuro and KenKen puzzles. There is also the 100 Day Challenge at brilliant.org as well as the Math Before Bed site for younger kids.
Road Trip Math
If you are going on a road trip, then get your kids involved with this! Show them a map of your route. Better still, print off a copy of the map and mark on your location every hour and to note how many kilometres you have travelled: this might help kids answer their favourite question: "When are we going to get there?" Make a note of gas prices on your route: are they more expensive or less expensive than where you live? When you fill up with gas, mark the location on your map. How many litres did you pump in? Using your map, how far do you think you will go before you need to fill up again.
If your child are following their favourite team, get them to collect data of how their team is doing. From simple bar charts to keep track of wins/losses to more detailed things such as number of runs/hits, batting averages etc. If you are watching a game or a sporting event, casually ask your children questions like:
- By how many runs/goals/points are we winning?
- How many runs/goals/points have been scored in total?
- Have we had more running yards or passing yards?
- How many minutes are left?
Or if you are going to watch the World Athletic championships in London, how about a question like "Who do you think will win: Bolt or De Grasse? By how much?"
There are even opportunities to practice math when you are having a barbecue. From simple questions like "How many burgers are on the grill? How many will there be when I flip them over?" to using a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of the chicken breasts (we don't want to eat undercooked chicken, do we?!)
Hope that you have fun using these ideas!