Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Math (Even) More Magical!

We all know kids learn more when they're having fun (I feel like a broken record saying that over and over and over again), so let your little Einsteins go hog-wild with this fun math game!

Write each digit 0-9 on its own scrap of paper and have your kids crumple them up. 

Depending on the age/math proficiency of your kids, have them choose between 2-5 scraps from the pile.  Tell them their job is to use each of the numbers they have randomly chosen in a math expression, working toward some goal (largest sum, an even number, a multiple of 12) that you set.

So, for example, if you have a 5th grader, you may say to him, "Pick 4 scraps of paper.  Make (two) 2-digit numbers that, when added together, give you the largest sum possible."  If your child pulls a 2, 4, 1 and 5, let him play around with the numbers realizing that it doesn't make sense to make the numbers 24 and 15 (sum of 39), when he could make 51 and 42 and get a sum of 93.  Would changing the numbers to 52 and 41 change the sum?  Why or why not?

If you have a 1st grader, change the game to something like, "Pick 3 scraps of paper and add all of the numbers together".  While this may not seems exceptionally fun to adults, most kids will like the novelty of moving the papers around and the fact that they're written on pieces of paper instead of a math worksheet.

Other ways you can change this up:
- use a die or 2,3,4, dice to get your random numbers (kids automatically think "game" when dice are involved!)
- have your kids play against one another to get the largest sum and have them explain their thinking ("I made 42 instead of 24 because 42 is a larger number.  A large number plus another large number will get me a larger sum than 2 small numbers added together....")
- add more pieces of paper and have repeated digits
- let your kids set their own goals for the math expression
- have your kids pick 3 pieces of paper randomly and then have the option to choose which number they'd like to have for the 4th digit, depending on that round's goal

What else can you think of to make this math game even more fun!?


  1. Hello, I'm a new gfc follower of your blog. I'd love for you to follow mine at if possible thanks :)

  2. I'm a new gfc follower. I am a homeschooler of 5 children so i love that i found your blog today!

  3. New follower ! Follow back @

  4. Hi! New follower from the Bloggy Mommy September Blog Hop!

    I'm a homeschooling Mom and always looking for fun new ways to inspire my children to learn. I LOVE this idea, and I am going to do it with my kids tomorrow. Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future!

    I invite you (and your readers) to check out my blog at-
    And sign up for my blog follower giveaway drawing here-

  5. Hi, new follower here from the Sept. '11 Blog Hop,
    Hope you will stop by and follow me back, Thank you.