Parents can build their children’s mathematical thinking and fluency through interesting and simple games. You may need to prepare some materials for the games, but it will be a fun activity for the family!
Memory Game (numeral cards 0 to 20) (word cards 0 to 20)
Prepare a stack of numeral cards and word cards (0-20) and place them on the floor with the numbers and words facing down. Get your child to turn over 2 cards. If the cards match, he will get to keep the cards. If not, he will turn back the cards and it is now your turn to do likewise. Repeat the process till all the cards are taken off from the floor. The player with the most cards wins.
Break the Code
Get your child to break the code by giving the following clues:
- The first number is 4 more than the second number.
- The last number is the sum of the first and second numbers.
- The second number is 2.
- What is the code?
Snap Game (numeral cards 0 to 20)
Get two stacks of numeral cards from zero to twenty. Shuffle them and put them face down. You and your child will turn over the top most card. The player who has the greater number gets to keep the card. If both numbers are the same, the player who shouts ‘Snap’ first will get to keep the card. The player who collects more cards wins.
Tell your child you are thinking of a 2-digit number, example 54. Tell your child he/she can only ask questions which you can only give a ‘Yes/No’ reply. For example, he/she can ask, “Is the number less than 40?”, ‘Is the number between 50 and 60?”, “Does the number have a digit 4?”. You and your child may reverse the role to play the game.
Draw on butcher paper numbers from one to twenty in sequence.
Say a number and get your child to jump onto that number. Next say ‘plus 3’. Your child is supposed to calculate mentally and do a jump to the answer. Next say ‘minus 2’ and your child has to jump backwards to the answer on a step. Do this till your child gets to 20.
Magic Square of 15 (magic square)
Give your child a 3 by 3 grid with some numbers written in it, for example, 1, 6 and 5. Get your child to fill in the rest of the numbers from 1 to 9 in the missing boxes. He has to make sure that the sum of all rows, columns and diagonal is 15.
Pick a handful of beans and put them on a table. Then count the number of beans without moving them. Next, tell your child that the winner is the one who is able to put the beans into equal groups in the fastest possible time. Try with different number of beans. In situations where they cannot be put into equal groups, get your child to explain. For example, 19 cannot be put into groups of 2, there will be one extra leftover.
Skip Count We Go!
Tell your child you are learning multiplication tables with him/her. Say you start with multiplication table of 3. So, you start with ‘1’, your child will say ‘2’. When it is your turn, you will say ‘skip’ instead of ‘3’. Then your child will continue with ‘4, you ‘5’ and then your child will say ‘skip’ instead of 6. Each time either one of you reaches multiples of 3, say ‘skip’ instead of the answer. Try it out with other multiplication tables.
You and your child will take turns to say a number, starting from 1. When it is a multiple of 7, either of you will say ‘7-UP’. You will start from 1 again if you forget to say that.
Try to set a time limit for both of you to complete the game from number 1 to 84.
House of (3)Tables
Draw a house on a sheet of construction paper. Include a door and 13 windows. Label each window 0 to 12. Write on the door the multiplication table eg, three. Cut each window along any three sides. Next paste the house onto another construction paper. Open each window and write the answer for each multiplication table of 3. For eg, the Window 5 will have the answer 15. Use it to test your child‘s multiplication facts.
Sing Along With Me
Sing along the nursery rhyme ‘Ten Green Bottles’. Head to Youtube to search for videos to sing along to.
Ten Green Bottles
Ten green bottles, hanging on the wall,
Ten green bottles, hanging on the wall.
And if one green bottle,
Should accidently fall.
There'll be, nine green bottles, hanging on the wall.
Nine green bottles, hanging on the wall.
And if one green bottle,
Should accidently fall.
There'll be, eight green bottles, hanging on the wall.
Eight green bottles, hanging on the wall.
And if one.........
There'll be one green bottle, hanging on the wall,
One green bottle, hanging on the wall.
And if that green bottle,
Should accidently fall,
There'll be no green bottles, hanging on the wall.
Five Little Ducks
Five little ducks went swimming one day,
Over the pond and far away.
Mummy duck said,
Quack, quack, quack, quack.
But only four little ducks came back.
Four little ducks went swimming one day,
But no little ducks came swimming back,
So Mummy duck said,
QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK.
And five little ducks came swimming back.
The Pirate Song
When I was one,
I banged my drum.
The day I went to sea.
I jumped aboard a pirate ship,
And the captain said to me.
We're going, this way, that way,
Forwards and backwards,
Over the Irish Sea.
A bottle of rum, to warm my tum,
And that's the life for me.
When I was two,
I buckled my shoe.....
When I was three,
I banged my knee....
When I was four,
I knocked on the door....
When I was five,
I learned to dive.....
Blind But I See!
Blindfold your child. Tell your child you have a picture in mind for him/her to draw. Describe the picture in details using words such as ‘There is a circle. Inside the circle, there are two triangles that look like eyes. There is a square just below the circle. It is joined to the circle. Inside the square, there is a small rectangle. On the left side of square there is a circle drawn next to it.” Once the drawing is done, remove your child’s blindfold, show him/her your actual drawing. You and your child may reverse the role to play this game and have a good laugh :)