by Kyndra Steinmann
Oh, the winter doldrums! The weather is cold, the ground is likely muddy, or it is raining for the third day in a row. The wonders of the inventions bin have been exhausted and the energy level is off the wall! What is a mother to do in a small house full of stir-crazy children?
Play math games, of course!
Yup, math games can be a wonderful burner of energy and can occupy everyone. They build character as children learn to lose–and win–gracefully.
For most of these ideas, you will need a set of large flashcards to put on the floor. I’ve included some at the end of this post and recommend laminating them for durability.
Jumping Flash Cards
Print out and laminate numbers or shapes. Scatter them around the room. I usually put a piece of masking tape on the back to keep them from slipping too badly. If you have carpet, a piece of Velcro would work as well.
Call out a number or shape name and have the child run or jump to the spot.
What number comes after 2?
What shape has 4 sides?
What shape starts with S?
Call out combinations and have the child run or jump to the answer. Add difficulty by calling out something like 3+5-2.
Race Around the Room/Skip Counting
Place number cards around the room. Turn on music as for musical chairs. Younger children can race around the numbers in order seeing how far they get before the music stops. Older children can do the same but count by 2’s, 5’s etc.
Number Scavenger Hunt
Hide the cards around the room. Give each child a scavenger hunt card (printable below) and set the timer (optional). How many cards can they collect in the given time?
Alternative version for older children: Put the number cards out in plain sight and have them hunt for hidden flashcards and match them to the number cards. This exercise teaches reasoning skills and logic as they have to work backward from the answers to the combinations.
The options are nearly endless and the double benefit of energy burning and learning is priceless!
Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones on living in a house full of young children, unending questions, and abundant grace. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and be sure to read her post here every other Tuesday!