Math Games to Play

1. Treasure Hunt: Hide a prize and give clues that include math problems to solve. (Take 99 divided by 9 steps from the front door. Turn to your right 90 degrees. Now take 104-45 steps straight ahead.)

2. Calculator Race: Have someone make a list of numbers for you to add. Time yourself adding them up. Try to beat your own time. Have two calculators? Challenge someone to a race. Or, you can time each other.

3. Mystery Tray: You and a friend can do this together. Have mom or dad put about 15 items on a tray and cover them up with a towel. When mom or dad say, "Go!" they uncover the tray and you and your friend try to memorize all of the items on the tray. After about 1-2 minutes, cover the tray again and see how many items you can list. There are things you can do to help you remember all of the things on the tray. One way is remember things by their first letter. What strategies can you come up with?

4. Alphabet Math: Write the numbers 1 to 26 on a piece of paper. Write one letter of the alphabet next to any number and continue doing this until you have assigned each letter a number. Using the numbers as point values for each letter, think of words that are "worth" over 100 points. You can add up the words mentally or using pencil and paper. Have a contest with someone to see who can make up a word that is "worth" the most points. Remember, you can always make a new list and change the number assigned to each letter. This changes the game.

5. Rounding Numbers: Write the numbers 0,3,5,7,8, and 9 on six different index cards (one number per card). Arrange the cards in any order to make a 6-digit number. Round your number to the nearest thousand. Make new 6-digit numbers and keep rounding. You change the game or make it harder by changing the numbers on your cards or adding to them. The more cards you have, the bigger the challenge.

6. Mental Math Challenge: This game can be played by 2-4 players. 1) Make a set of cards with the digits 1 to 48. Make a spinner that is divided into fourths. Put an (+) in 2 parts opposite each other, and (-) in the other two. 2) Mix the cards and put them face down in two piles. Each player spins the spinner and turns up the top two cards. If the spinner says (-) then the player subtracts the smaller number from the larger number. If it says (+) then the player adds. The sum or the difference is the player’s score. 3) When all the cards have been used, the players add their scores. The one with the highest score wins.

Variations of this game can be played just by changing the numbers in the stacks or by changing the (+) and (-) to multiplication and division, or all four.

7. Count Up the Letters: Numbers and letters sometimes add up to something cool. Don’t believe it? Try this trick. 1) Pick any number and write it a word. 2) Count out the number of letters in that word. Then use words to write out the number of letters. 3) Keep doing this until the words you’re writing out repeat themselves. 4) Try this problem five more times, starting with a different number each time. What happens?

 

 

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