S.T.E.A.M. Day is all about encouraging young learners to celebrate the wonders of science, technology, engineering, art and math. In honor of S.T.E.A.M. Day, check out our top four non-digital math games. These games reinforce the foundational math topics kids learn in school and in Todo Math using real-world examples and everyday objects, and they can be played at home or on the go. These simple learning games will help you and your kids celebrate S.T.E.A.M. Day 2017 in style!
You may have heard the old adage that it’s impolite to play with your food, but we think you can make an exception for these fun math games. Play these food-focused games at your kitchen table, a restaurant, or the grocery store!
- Subtracting/Adding: You have 5 carrots and someone eats 2 of them. How many are left? Count the 3 remaining carrots. There were 5, someone ate 2, and now there are 3 left. So 5 – 3 = 2! This example teaches simple subtraction, but can be easily adapted to larger numbers, or to addition. And if you’re playing with carrots, it’s a great way to get your kids to eat veggies!
- The Sharing Game: To share 10 crackers evenly between 2 people, how many crackers should each of person get? Split the crackers between both people one-by-one until you each have 5. This teaches us that to share 10 crackers equally between 2 people, each person should get 5. So 10 ÷ 2 = 5! This example teaches division, but it could be easily altered to teach the concept of half vs. whole instead, which is suitable to somewhat younger learners and is a great point of entry for learning about fractions. The game is easily adapted to add more foods or more people.
Continue practicing these concepts with Todo Math games like Cookies and Word Grocery.
Loose Change Games
If you’re like us, you have a stash of loose change somewhere in your house, car, purse or pocket. Before that change makes its way into a parking meter, put it to good use with these games that teach counting, skip-counting, sorting, ordering, addition, subtraction and identifying currency. The examples here employ U.S. currency, but you can easily substitute a different currency.
- Counting Game: Start by counting all the pennies; how many are there? More advanced children can move on to counting nickels (skip-counting by 5s), then dimes (skip-counting by 10s), and finally quarters (skip-counting by 25s).
- Add It Up: first, sort out all the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Count out the value of the pennies, then the value of the nickels, and then add them together. How much does that equal? Now count the value of the dimes and add that to the value of the nickels and pennies.
- Number Line: First, make a number line and create places for 1, 5, 10 and 25. Then sort out all the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, and place them on the line at the appropriate place value. Now count out how many coins are at each place on the number line; what is the total value of each? Say you have 75 cents in total; how many more cents are needed to make a dollar? And how many combinations of coins could you use to do it?
Continue practicing these concepts with Todo Math games like Keep the Change.
Most of our environments are absolutely filled with numbers and shapes. Whether you’re out for a short walk or a long car ride, the world around us presents numerous opportunities for simple games that let kids practice important math skills.
- Car Game: Ask your child to look at a license plate and identify all of the numerals. Now try adding those numbers together to find the total sum. Next, pick another car and repeat the process. Finally, compare the two totals – which license plate adds up to more? This game is highly adaptable and works if you’re sitting in traffic or taking a walk down a city street. Or, instead of using license plates, use the addresses from houses, or the numbers on a bus stop.
- Find the Shapes: What shapes can you identify in the world around you? Is the shape of that building a square or a rectangle? What shape is that car’s tire? What shape is its window? More advanced learners can graduate to 3D shapes. This game teaches shape identification and vocabulary, and provides the chance to discuss more in-depth concepts like how many sides or angles a shape has, the difference between parallel and perpendicular lines, etc.
Continue practicing these concepts with Todo Math games like Ferris Wheel and Falling Shapes.
Common Object Games
Our houses are filled with items you can use to play fun math learning games. Hundreds of fun games can be played with dice, kitchen utensils, or other easy-to-find items.
- Drop Dead (REQUIREMENTS: 5 dice and a cup): Put five dice in a cup and shake the cup to roll. The goal of the game is to get the highest total score. Any time you DON’T roll a 2 or a 5, add the numbers of the dice to get your score, and then repeat the process. Any time you DO roll a 2 or a 5, you don’t score and you remove those dice. Keep rerolling to try to get more and more points, and eventually, you will run out of dice to roll and you’ll be left with a final score. Now give the dice to the next person and see if they can beat your score.
- Forks, Knives and Spoons (REQUIREMENTS: forks, butter knives and spoons): Mix up all of your forks, non-sharp knives and spoons, and set them out next to each other in a row. Kids take turns closing their eyes and grabbing one by the handle – once your hand touches one, you have to take the one you touched. Spoons are worth one, forks are worth two and knives are worth three. Take turns until all of the utensils are taken, then add up the scores and see who wins.
Continue practicing these concepts with Todo Math games like Domino Math.