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Math Facts Fun Packet: Addition and Subtraction Review by Cindy West

Ruth Ann Beall
Beall's Learning Games

I can't think of a better way to encourage understanding and memorization of math facts than through games. And that's exactly what this packet contains--cards, game pieces and directions for eleven games that reinforce addition and subtraction facts. Any child five or older who is just beginning to learn math facts (or has been struggling with the facts) will find each of the games in the packet simple to play, yet fun and effective. And parents will be thankful that real learning results from such a fun time.

A few of the game titles include Go the Row (which is similar to bingo), Grummy (which asks students to make pairs or sets of facts that equal the same number), and Roll-A-Fact (which uses dice to make facts, with correct answers earning chips.) Several of the games require more than two players. I found that we enjoyed playing these games during family game night, so having enough players wasn't an issue.

In the packet you'll find three bags of flashcards printed on colored cardstock. One bag includes addition fact cards, another has subtraction fact cards, and the third contains number cards. These cards are encouraged for use as "normal" flashcards during a warm-up time each day, but their bigger purpose is to be used in the various games. The packet also includes cardstock game boards, dice, and plastic counting chips that will be used with one or more of the games. Directions for each of the eleven game options are printed in one place so that you can easily scan the game choices and choose which one you'd like to play. All the necessary game pieces are included within the packet, which makes me particularly happy!

Since a solid grasp of addition and subtraction facts is the goal, Mrs. Beall has provided several additional resources besides the games. She supplies you with fact study sheets, quiz sheets, answer keys, and a tally sheet for keeping a quick record of quiz scores to easily view progress.

For children just beginning to learn about addition or subtraction, a hands-on/visual cardstock board helps them transition from using counters to using numerals to make equations. A worksheet is also included for each of the numbers 1-12 to help your child learn to create and understand fact families. Using the number cards provided, your child will physically make fact families like 2+3=5, 3+2=5, 5-2=3, and 5-3=2.

To top it off, Mrs. Beall includes a packet of master copies so that you can easily run-off a new game board, quiz sheet, or other resource if you need to. To save yourself a little trouble in the long run, she suggests laminating the flashcards and game boards. I agree.

The only frustration I found with the packet is sort of silly to complain about. Because there are so many resources contained in the packet, I had to sort through all of the materials in the beginning. It took me a little while to "take it all in." However, if the packet didn't hold everything I needed, I'd probably be frustrated about that too! So, I won't call it a frustration--maybe just a warning that you will have to "take it all in." But it will be well worth it for your child in the end!

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010