Games for Math Class

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All throughout our homeschooling adventures, one thing was certain: spring fever. There would always come a time each year when it was not only difficult for our girls to stay focused on tasks, it was hard for me to concentrate on helping them, because we all wanted to go outside. We did come up with creative ways to remedy this common affliction; sometimes, though, the weather did not cooperate with our plans. On rainy days we would play games for math class. What games? It depended on their ages. When they were young, playing CandyLand or Shoots and Ladders was sufficient. After all, they were counting! As they got older, we switched to more logic or pattern-based games, such as Go Fish or Uno. The real kicker came when they became old enough to play Monopoly. Yes folks, Monopoly most definitely counts as a math lesson or three!

There were other math lessons that we did hands on instead of from books. Doubling a recipe of scones or chocolate chip cookies counted for math, as did helping Mom match coupons to sales at the grocery store. One time we were walking through the produce department, and Emily asked me if I would buy her an orange. The sign said 5 for $2.00. Since she had been working on division for a couple weeks, I told her that if she could figure out in her head what one orange cost, I would buy her two of them. We went home with two oranges that day.

Why did I encourage my children to play games for math class? First, because it was more fun than doing another page in their workbooks, and secondly, because it was practical. For most of us adults, the math we use every day is not complicated. Unless it is time to do our taxes or balance our checkbooks, most of us use basic math (arithmetic) much more often than complex math (algebra or calculus.) Being able to do basic math in your head is a handy skill to have as an adult, so cultivate it with your children whenever possible.



As an adult, I might need to do quick calculations in my head to make my job or life easier. How many copies of a form do I need to make if we have three workstations and each needs 50 sheets? How many miles is it to the state park and back, and should I fill up my gas tank before we leave, or will I be okay to wait until we get home? If I am doing laundry but only have time for two loads before I need to leave, which loads get left for tomorrow? When you spend your childhood playing games and doing basic math in your head, these adult situations are easy to handle. You can pick out which of your coworkers did not play math or logic-based games as kids by which ones stress out over simple things like these.

It is good to use a workbook or textbook at least some of the time with your children, to make sure they practice doing the steps of basic arithmetic and seeing them written out. But do not let the book rule your homeschool. If they understand it well by day two and there are five days devoted to that concept, go play a game instead on days three and four. Then circle back around for a quick review on day five, just to make sure it is cemented in their brain.

Baking, grocery shopping, and playing games are all great ways to practice math while fighting off spring fever. Why not try one in your homeschool adventure next week?


Carol and her husband Kurt are in their 15th year of home education. With one graduate and one high school senior, Carol writes with a practical look at the whole journey of home education. Focusing on experienced based education and frugal ways to teach and learn well, Carol offers encouragement that anyone, even working moms, can homeschool successfully. Carol writes for her local newspaper, the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and reviews books for several Christian Publishers. You can find her love of nature, field trips, and lifelong learning on her blog: Home Sweet Life

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).