How Monopoly Can Help Your Kids Practice Math

Dec 28, 2021 | South Friendswood

At Mathnasium, we know that every child has the potential to love math! We think math is fun, so we like to make math fun for our students, too! At home, there are many ways you can teach your kids math lessons by doing activities that might not feel like math. Playing board games is one of those sneaky activities requiring your child to use their math skills without them even knowing it. Monopoly is one board game that you can use to teach your child lessons as you go. Read below for some ideas that help you maximize your Monopoly experience with your family.  

Play a condensed version:  

One of the biggest obstacles to playing a board game as a family is the time commitment. It seems like nobody ever has the time to sit down for a game that takes hours to finish an entire game. In one condensed version of the game, three rules are added/changed to make the game go faster: 

  • To begin the game: Shuffle the title cards and give each player two random properties. Players pay the cash value for these properties to the bank, leaving each player with less initial cash and a head start for the game with two properties. 

  • During the game: Start buying hotels after you have three houses (instead of four.)

  • To end the game: The game finishes when two players declare bankruptcy. Then, all remaining players tally up their assets, and the person with the most cash and property value wins. In the traditional version of the game, gameplay continues until only one player is left, which can take a long time! 

A quick Google search reveals more short game versions of Monopoly, and there is also a good chance that way you may have been playing Monopoly wrong all your life, which is also why it seems to drag on longer than it should! These concerns are all related to math, ultimately!  

Watch your children tackle math: 

Math is everywhere in Monopoly. In each one of these instances, your child has to exercise their math skills to win: 

  • Adding up the numbers on rolled dice. 

  • Learning the value of each bill. 

  • Counting money to pay for property, rent, and fines. 

  • Making change for other players when they pay rent. 

  • Counting how many turns until your turn comes up.  

  • Strategizing about how your actions affect others and vice versa. 

Teach your children financial literacy:

Most of the encounters with math involve money, and that’s a great opportunity to teach your child financial literacy. Financial literacy is declining in the US: a FINRA study from 2018 discovered that only 17% of adults aged 18-34 could correctly answer four of five financial literacy questions. The same study in 2009 showed 30% could do so. Monopoly is a golden opportunity to make sure your child understands concepts that can act as building blocks for financial literacy. Board games are fun, and kids especially love the excitement of having their own money! Here are some key concepts you can look for during your game:  

  • Investing – investing early in Monopoly gives players more time to accumulate wealth with their properties, just as it does in the real world.  

  • Mortgage – if any player needs to mortgage properties, you can explain that a mortgage is essentially a temporary sale of your property to the bank, giving them partial ownership. 

  • Interest – when a player borrows money from the bank, it costs them money in the long run because you have to pay interest.  

  • Bankruptcy – bankruptcy in the real world is a big deal, and in the game, it means the end for a player. It’s important to show your kids about risking bankruptcy when you make poor financial choices. 

  • Saving money – in case of emergency, it’s always a good idea to have funds ready, so you can avoid bankruptcy. 

Chances are, even you didn’t know how many opportunities there are to learn and use math while playing a game of Monopoly! Math doesn’t have to be obvious to be useful, though! At Mathnasium of Friendswood, we approach learning with the idea that there are always opportunities to learn with any activity. Our programs aim to make learning a fun experience that gives your child practical math skills they can use throughout life. Email us or call us today at (832) 569-5073 to ask us how we can help your family!