Family Math Games - At a Distance!
During this coronavirus pandemic, technology has really stepped up to help provide a connection, albeit a virtual one, with the grandparents and friends that our children miss spending their days with.
To keep math learning a fun part of everyday life, we've pulled together some math games you can play on a video call with keen relatives, friends or classmates.
Depending on how tech savvy everyone is, and depending on the math levels of the children who are playing, you are sure to find something here that you can adapt to suit.
Bingo (with a twist)
Yep, it's as simple as it sounds. To give the traditional game of Bingo a math element, you simply add a mental step between calling the number and marking it off. For example, for ages 6-7, instead of calling out the number, call out a simple addition or subtraction calculation, and if the players have the answer, they can mark off the number on their cards. For ages 8 and up, you can add in multiplication and division.
It needs to move pretty quickly to keep everyone's attention, so the organizer should have their calculations ready beforehand - you can write them on pieces of paper and draw them out at random to keep things fair. Ask the other people playing to draw out their own grids and fill them with the numbers they've picked ahead of time.
This game is a puzzler that is really good at helping kids find the fun in figuring out math problems. The aim of the game is to reach 24 from four figures by adding and subtracting (and even multiplying or dividing if you're at a more advanced level).
This one is ready to go via this website which generates new puzzles as you go - when we did it in a Zoom call, the 'quiz master' went through it beforehand and wrote down the different puzzle numbers on separate pages, which they then showed on screen one at a time. Alternatively, you could call out the numbers and get each player or team to write them down to puzzle over in real time.
Race to 10
Each player or team of players will need a set of playing cards with the picture cards removed. It helps to have this video chat set up at a table so there's room to spread the cards out and sort them.
- Shuffle the cards and deal out 20
- Race to see how quickly you can sort your cards into totals of 10.
- Any number of cards can be used to make 10, such as 3, 4, 4 or 8, 2, or just a 10 on its own.
- The winner is the first player to make as many tens as they can with their cards.
This one is good for strengthening number bonds to ten. To make it more challenging, you can pick another number, like 20 or even a random number and include multiplication / division.
Fizz Buzz is one of the classic travel games, which makes it a good one for translating to video chat. It’s a cross between a counting game and a times table game, and it has the merit of being collaborative rather than competitive. Here’s how it works:
You agree on two numbers to be called ‘fizz’ and ‘buzz’. Traditionally, ‘fizz’ is 3 and ‘buzz’ is 5, but it’s ok to change them, especially if there are three or five players. The first player starts by saying ‘1’. The second says - you’ve guessed it - ‘2’. The next says ‘fizz’, because the number they would normally have said (‘3’) is a multiple of 3, and has a 3 in it! It carries on: 4, buzz (5 is a multiple of 5), fizz, 7, 8, fizz, buzz, 11, fizz, fizz (13 has a three in it), 14, fizz buzz (15 is a multiple of 3 and 5), and so on. If anyone says a number when they should have fizzed or buzzed, you have to start again from zero. How high can you get?
You can play between each person or between each 'team' of people taking part on screen.
We predict chaos. Have fun!
Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost elementary math skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use at home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning math (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy family routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in math – without keeping them at the screen for long.