Whether they are playing store or playing chess, kids love playing games. Math games are no exception. Not only are math games fun, there are many benefits to playing them.
Four Benefits Of Playing Math Games
Provides practical application of math skills learned
So often kids wonder when they will ever use math. Kids see math as something they have to study, not a practical life skill. There are five key math skills kids use every day. Playing games helps them see practical uses for these skills.
Sneaks in math drill
You could give your child a worksheet to practice math facts. Or you could play a game with him. Both take about the same amount of time, but one will be a lot more fun. Kids are motivated to practice math facts when their success at knowing them determines their outcome in the game.
Makes math fun
Playing games is just plain fun. Your child will be having so much fun he may not even realize he is doing math. A friend’s children were asked by a neighbor what they did for school that day. They replied, “Nothing!” My friend asked, “What about Coin Change-Up?” which they played earlier in the day. They were shocked and replied, “What? That was math?”
Involves the whole family
Math games can usually be modified so the whole family can play together. A younger child could add dice together while an older child multiplies them. An older child might be required to begin with more cards than a younger child. Even if you play the game at the level of a younger child, an older child is practicing and reinforcing skills already learned.
Making time to play math games
Given the choice of playing a math game or completing a lesson, it is tempting to go for the lesson. After all, we need to complete the math book this school year, right? I would argue no, you do not. It is better to focus on mastery instead of completion. Your child needs to have a solid foundation in place before building on and learning new skills. There have been times when we stopped lessons for weeks at a time because we were having fun playing a game and my children were mastering a concept.
You could choose to play math games:
- one day a week (or more if your schedule allows)
- in addition to a math lesson instead of a worksheet
- instead of a lesson when the game will teach the concept
Here is a list of over 125 math games and activities for all ages, listed by category.