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Math Games-- great for holiday gift giving! here are some ideas.... some free!
Susan Richman, 12/8/2010

Have you ever added math games to your homeschooling program?? Many families only do math textbooks day after day-- and often by sending their kids off to 'do their work' all by themselves. Then they wonder why their kids 'hate math'. If you look at the families where math is really enjoyable, often you'll see at least one parent who enjoys math learning-- and someone who is ready to introduce their child to a wide range of intriguing math games. I'm not just talking about games that 'drill' math facts either-- but games that require real thinking, evaluation, strategy, and fun... along with math skills.

Check out our online store for some good choices-- the game TWENTY-FOUR has always been a real hit with kids, and I've rarely seen groups of kids having such a good time thinking fast as when playing SET. And 'Rat-a-Tat Cat' is great fun even for the 'younger crowd'-- my grandkids loved this one even at the pre-school stage, but elementary kids can really play it well. Full descriptions of each game in our store. Games can be nice 'stocking stuffers'-- and most homeschool kids won't fault you for buying an *educational* game for the holidays! And by the way-- in this photo of '24', the object is to make the 4 numbers on the card equal 24-- by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing. You must use each number once. Can you figure this one out?? Let's see.... 5 x 4 = 20... plus 5 = 25, minus 3 = 22... oh, doesn't work. But do you get the idea? Can you solve this one? Post your solution below as a comment!

And here's a new math game called QUADSUM that is sort of like a more mathematically challenging version of Sudoku-- it's played on computer (for just $7.95 you can download the game-- a bargain...), and there's a demo game online that's free to try (I haven't yet solved the 'easy' one shown-- this game just involves addition, but takes a lot of 're-figuring' to find a full solution to the whole puzzle...). Check out  http://www.hilariaandludi.com/quadsum/index.html Look for more math games in the future from this creative duo that's developing lots of engaging projects.

And if you have an elementary or middle school child, check out this free website: www.googolpower.com . You'll find all sorts of engaging resources, including free online math games of all sorts, as well as printable game ideas, and good articles on how to integrate math games into your program. Here's a great article to help you notice how many 'regular' games involve lots of math: http://www.googolpower.com/content/articles/math-games-to-play-at-home-adapting-your-favorite-games 

Visit www.mathcounts.org to check out all the neat offerings that are free right online-- including an 'arcade' type game. Mathcounts is an excellent math competition program for middle school students, encouraging in-depth and flexible learning. You might even be inspired to start up a team, or participate as an individual.

This neat site has lots of enaging free online math games: http://www.coolmath-games.com/ Their 'motto' is 'come for the games-- stay for the lessons', and indeed they also offer a full spectrum of math lessons right at the site.

And you MUST try http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html I learned about this site from one of my favorite homeschooling families-- and every time I come back to it, there are more and more good resources and engaging online games. And there are very helpful math videos explaining and demonstrating all common math concepts-- a great and free resource when the standard text lesson just isn't making sense to your child-- or is just boring.

You might think of making one day per week as 'math game day', or try to include a short math game a few days per week. And if you like involving Dad in a fun way, perhaps have him check out some of these online math games, and see if you could play them with the kids in the evenings. A good alternative to TV-- and a fun way to be involved in learning and fun indoors during the cold weather.

Let us know if you've found other great math game websites, or have ideas for simple homemade math games, or have found ways to include math games into your homeschooling.  


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