If you’re a regular reader, you know how much my family loves games! You can learn so much from playing, and we often integrate board games and card games into our homeschool days. That’s why I was so excited to review Elementary Math Games from The Critical Thinking Co. Since it’s geared at grades 3-5, I knew it’d be a great fit for my third and fourth graders.
What Is Elementary Math Games?
I received a physical book in the mail. It’s softbound, and has 152 pages. There are detailed instructions for 20 games, along with many cards, game sheets, and more.
I was a bit worried about having to try to make copies of the game sheets to use with multiple players, but thankfully there is a link included inside the book. You can head to the link, and print out copies of whichever game you are playing. It was so nice! I’m so thankful this was included, as it made the games so easy to prepare.
The game directions are very detailed. Here’s a peek at one of the games:
For each game, you see a materials list, a list of learning standards (like objectives), a brief overview, and then detailed instructions with examples for the game. After that, there are also game variations. These are a fun way to change a game so it doesn’t always play the same way.
Finally, each game has a section called, “Questions for Further Discovery.” These are discussion questions you can use to tie the game directly into math. For instance, Game 2 is all about using math vocabulary in a fun way. Some of the questions are:
- “What is a descriptive statement that would describe at least twenty numbers?”
- What is a descriptive statement that would describe at most ten numbers?
- What is a descriptive statement that would describe only one number?
These questions are meant to get students thinking. They also allow them to use the skills they just practiced to answer. These questions were a fun way to tie the learning all together.
How Did We Use These Games?
I went through the book, and selected the games I wanted to play with my kids. I was hoping to use many more of them, but unfortunately many of them use division. Since my kiddos are still working on mastering multiplication, the time wasn’t right to use those games. (But don’t worry – we will definitely continue using this product and play them in the future!
Once I had the games selected, I took time to print the worksheets and things right away. That way when the time came to play, it would be simple to just gather the supplies for that game and I wouldn’t have to try to get to the computer right then. By printing in advance, the games were easy to set up. We tried a new one each week during the review period.
Fridays are our “fun school” day, so we typically played a math game each Friday. Some of the games we really enjoyed, so we played them occasionally on different days. My kids really enjoyed the break from their traditional school. Any time they get to play a game for school is okay by them! 😀
We had most of the supplies needed for the games we played. They were common things like:
- A pair of dice
- A deck of cards
- Pencil and paper
- Index cards
- A spinner
- Chips or markers for BINGO (we always use chocolate chips!)
Some games recommended a smartboard, but in those, it was always optional. Others recommended using a random number generator, and the book provided links to some websites that offered that technology.
There were also some specific items needed, like:
- Multilinks or tiles of specific colors
- A spinner with specific colors
- A metronome
But, the majority of games use only basic supplies. So, you can still find many games you can play even if you don’t have the supplies for one or two of them.
Playing the Games
We enjoyed playing the games. Depending on who was playing, I adapted the rules. For instance, I let my third grader get away with just adding or subtracting in some games instead of requiring her to multiply, because she’s only just started memorizing the times table.
I also didn’t require my fourth grader to do all of the extra writing in some games, because that is something he struggles with.
Always remember that you can adapt these as needed, and your kids will still be practicing important math skills.
What We Thought Of Elementary Math Games
I really enjoyed playing the games. I appreciated that the PDF files were available to download, as that made the games much more accessible.
My favorite game was BINGO. I loved that there were so many variations (9 of them!). Students of all levels could play. I let my younger kids join in for this one, and they just had to match the number. My older kids had to do the computations to get the numbers. So, I would call out the expression first (like 15-8). I’d give time for my calculating kids to mark their answer. Then I’d have them call out the correct number, and my youngsters would mark it off.
My fourth grader really enjoyed playing Fill the Grid. This is the game you can see in the pictures. You have to flip an index card to reveal a random number 0-50. Then, you have to come up with an expression that uses three integers to create that number. The first two numbers need to be multiplied and the third added or subtracted. Then you write the three digits on your grid. The goal is to fill the grid.
My third grader says she most enjoyed eating the chocolate chips from BINGO…but if she had to pick a game, she’d pick Top Ten with a Twist. This game is played like the card game War, except you also have a face-off if the two cards revealed add up to 10.
If you’re looking to add some fun to your math with third-fifth graders, I highly recommend this product!
And, the company has offered a discount for my readers! Use the code TOSCREW19 to receive free shipping and 15% off! Just order by 12/31/2019!
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