Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Math Fact FUN!

Alex (6) is working through Singapore Essential Math Book B, and he’s doing great!  He fully understands the concepts of addition and subtraction, but we took a few weeks during our HOD curriculum break to do extra practice using games.

Max (4.5), who just LOVES numbers and math, can do addition and subtraction just as well as Alex can.  Because of this, we’re able to play math games together during Jensyn’s naptime.  I thought I’d share a couple of the games we’ve enjoyed lately.


Numberbow is a game that I found in a Peggy Kaye book over a decade ago.  The book is still relevant, as it’s full of fun, hands-on ways to work on skills in several different subjects.  I enjoyed this book when I was a classroom teacher!

When I taught second grade, my students enjoyed playing this game as a special treat if we found ourselves with a little extra time at the end of the day.

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Numberbow is a very simple game.   The official directions may be found HERE.  For each player, you’ll need a blank ‘numberbow’ (see picture below) with spots for numbers 2 – 12.  Use two number cubes (dice with numbers instead of dots).  Players take turns rolling two cubes, adding the numbers, and filling in the correct spot on their ‘numberbow’.   It’s easy at first, but becomes more challenging as you ‘lose a turn’ when you’ve already colored in a number. 

Numberbow, addition practice, math games

(This is the version that I made years ago for my classroom; I do not have it saved on my computer.  I just make copies when I need more.  Here’s a link to website with a similar form – scroll down in the post to find it.)


Bump & Jump is a game found in Deanna Jump’s store at Teachers Pay Teachers.  She has several varieties of this game for numbers, addition, subtraction, and phonics.  We purchased the addition version, and it’s been a hit in our house!

This is a two player game, and it’s a little harder to explain, but it’s lots of fun!  You use a pencil and a paper clip to complete the spinner on the printed page.  The page will have a rule, such as “Add 2” or “Add 4”.  We’ll use ‘add 2’ as our example here.

There are 16 numbers in a grid on the page.  Each number has an outline box and an inner box.

Each player is assigned a color.  You spin a number, add 2 (the rule on this page), and then color the OUTSIDE box around the sum.  Players take turns.  If a player spins/adds a sum that has already been colored on the outer box, they may color the inner box and “win” that square. 

Play continues until all outer and inner squares have been colored.  The player with the most inner squares covered is the winner.


This game comes with many different printable pages so that you can vary the game to work on different adding skills.  There is even a sheet with two spinners so that you are adding two random numbers.  My boys just LOVE playing Bump & Jump!


This game is much simpler, but Max is truly loving it!  It’s one variation of a Native American game called “Sticks”.  The boys learned this game at the ‘children’s trading post’ recently when we were at a historical re-enactment.

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After playing the game with authentic Native American ‘sticks’, they were given a popsicle stick version of the game to play at home.  The simple instructions:

~ Take 5 popsicle sticks, and paint one side a solid color.
~ On the ‘blank’ (unpainted) side of 4 sticks, draw a BLACK design.
~ On the ‘blank’ (unpainted) side of 1 stick, draw a RED design.

Player 1 holds all 5 sticks in his hand, drops the sticks, and then counts points.
Painted Side = 0 points
Black design = 1 point
Red design = 2 points

Player 1 adds his points.

Player 2 takes a turn by dropping all the sticks and counting points.

Turns continue until a player has scored 10 points.  (You can use dried beans or small rocks as counters to add your points, if desired.)  The first player to reach 10 points is the winner.

This game can be altered to whatever counting you’d like your child to do.  If you wanted to work on counting by 2s, then make the black sticks worth 2 points and the red stick with 4 points.  If you wanted to work on counting by 5s, make the blacks stick worth 5 points and the red stick worth 1 points.  (Get the idea?)

Max can play this game with others or on his own for quite a long time!  It’s a simple, yet effective game for counting practice!

Your Turn!

Please share YOUR FAMILY’S favorite math games for young learners!  I’d love to have some suggestions of what simple games work well for your children as they practice their math facts!

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