Math Games

This fall we’ve added some new games to those we play from time to time as part of school. I like giving games for Christmas, all the better if they are also fun for our school. I thought I’d share some of our favorites for those of you who might be last minute shoppers.

The first, 7 Ate 9 is the most obvious “math” game (meaning it’s also the one that is hardest to play as stealth school and the least likely to be appreciated as a stocking stuffer). Still, it’s a fun way to review basic addition and subtraction math facts. It’s fairly simple. Each card has a number and in the corner another number with a plus and minus sign (so the main number might be a 4 and in the corner is a +/- 1). Each player gets half the stack of cards and one card goes in the middle face-up. You can play a card if your card makes an equation that equals the card in the middle. So if there was a 5 in the middle I could play my 4+1 card (or a 3 +2 card or a 10-5 card). You get the idea. It’s simple enough to understand but because it’s a speed game it’s challenging enough to include older players. And it’s quite challenging for those kids still working on memorizing the basic facts. This is one David and I have been playing a lot lately to review those facts.

We got Kanoodle awhile ago and the boys played it non-stop for awhile. They didn’t see it at all as a Math game but this little puzzle works on all kinds of geometry and spatial reasoning skills. There are multiple levels to this game. It comes with a small book and leveled challenges. The easiest instruct the player how to place all the pieces except one or two in the grid and then the placement of the last pieces is the puzzle. The most difficult give the placement of only a few pieces and the player has to figure out how to get the others to fit. (It took me awhile to realize that it’s hard to put the game away without the booklet since you are essentially doing the puzzle every time you put it away.) Even more challenging are the 3-D puzzles which work from the same concept but require the player to build pyramids. It’s a great game for travel as it’s very compact.

With kids three years apart,it’s sometimes a challenge to find games that we can all truly enjoy together. Often we end up playing a game and having David be a team with one parent. (Ruth is still at the Candyland stage. A stage I will celebrate when it is over.) Qwirkle is one of the few that we can all truly play at the same level. Sort of a cross between dominoes and Scrabble, players have to match tiles of the same color or shape. However, there is enough strategy involved in being able to score points that it’s challenging enough for older kids and adults while younger kids can easily grasp the idea.


And finally, a classic. We started studying logic a bit this year so I thought this would be a fun addition and it’s fast become one of our favorite games. This is the classic code-breaker game. One player makes a code out of colored pegs. The other player tries to guess the code. After every guess the code-maker gives clues that can be used to logically deduce the correct code.  It’s a little hard for David (age 6) but since it’s a two person game it’s fairly easy to play as a team with him.  He doesn’t seem to mind and often requests to play.

For those who can’t get enough of math games, here is my previous post on games we enjoy in our homeschool.

4 thoughts on “Math Games

  1. We have Qwirkle, and I love it. I love that, as you mention, even the younger kids can play it. The other ones (except the last, though I’ve never played it) are new to me. Sadly, as much as we love games, we have to make a concerted effort to make time for them. we’ve only been able to play the game you gave us one time! The fall has been too busy.

    When do y’all play games?

    • The more overtly Math games we play during school. David has reached one of those math plateaus where we need to just park for awhile and cement concepts and facts. I find those are great times to play games. Occasionally we’ll do a fun Friday where we’ll do more fun things for all subjects, including math.

      Then we fairly commonly will play a game after dinner before bed. Most of the games I’ve mentioned here can be played pretty quickly. We’ve lately gotten into some of the longer games (Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, A Ticket to Ride) and we’ll often play those on a weekend or holiday. It does take a bit of an effort to plan the time, but I really like games so it’s something I do plan (where there are a lot of other things I’d like to do more of but we don’t ever get to). For advent I put several game nights on our calendar as our special thing to do that day.

  2. Pingback: Beating the Mid-Winter Blues | Supratentorial

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