Playing math games encourages strategic thinking, flexible problem solving and computational fluency. Teachers depend on game play in classrooms to provide opportunities for repetitive practice that otherwise would be “boring” for kids. We often think of play as a strategy for learning with younger children, but kids benefit from playful learning right into their teen years. If you are thinking about gift ideas for your school aged kid, don’t forget that kids of all ages love a good game! These blogger friends have some great gift ideas too:
Paula Rollo has great gift ideas for creative kids
Linda Stone has a list of gifts for kids who are bilingual.
Joanie Boeckman has a great list of nature gifts for children
Fun Math Games for Kids:
There are lots of well known commercially available math games that support flexible thinking and good old fashioned arithmetic skills like sum swamp or money bags. This lesser known list of problem solving math games is compiled from my kid’s favourites, both in class and as family game night picks. If you are looking for a list of gift ideas for teen and tweens, remember there is a game for every interest right into those teen years. And if you are wondering what to get your child’s teacher for a holiday or end-of-the-year gift, a game the whole class can use is really appreciated!
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QBitz: This game is great for developing visual and spatial reasoning, symmetry and patterns. Race against your family to complete the pattern first, or try the challenges of working from memory! This is a puzzle style game that is seriously fun for everyone. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Blokus: This is a fast paced game that develops strategy, visual and spatial skills as well as flexible thinking with geometric shapes. Suitable for beginners and advanced players, it is recommended for players 7 and up.
Set: This game will challenge even the most visually perceptive adult. Your kids will love making sets while developing their abilities to sort by attribute. This award winning game is mensa approved and requires no ability to read or “do” math. Recommended for ages 6 and up, this game builds cognitive, logical and spatial reasoning skills.
Swish: Similar to Set, this game develops visual perception and reasoning. Tough to start, but addictive and fun for ages 8 and up, once you get the hang of “swishing” balls into the hoops on transparent cards.
Sumoku: This crossword inspired game is similar to bananagrams or scrabble while reinforcing arithmetic skills. With 5 different ways to play, including solo, it is a great example of playful learning for kids ages 9 and up.
Gobblet: This is my 11 year old son’s favourite of the bunch right now. It’s kind of a tic tac toe game that uses strategic problem solving, visual perception and lots of memory to get four in a row. Don’t be fooled by the simple rules of the game. It is astonishingly fun and addictive to play for ages 7 and up.
Even Steven’s Odd: This quick thinking game works on addition and subtraction skills while reinforcing an understanding of odd and even numbers. Fun for all ages and recommended for ages 7 and up.
Match Stick Puzzles: You can find all kinds of free resources online for this game, but if you want a kit that has everything in one box, give this game a go! Excellent for reinforcing patterns, critical thinking and strategic problem solving for all ages. Choose easy up to seemingly impossible challenges and see who can solve each puzzle first!
Eternas: This is my favourite of the bunch. A 3-D four in a row game that is significantly more complex than tic-tac-toe. Recommended for ages 6 and up, it looks great on display in any room and is seriously awesome for developing strategic problem solving.
If you love Pinterest, then come follow me over there! I’ve organized lots of boards that support playful learning!