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News from Mathnasium of Stapleton

Math the Fun Way: Board Games

Apr 24, 2019

Math is a part of many board games and, don’t get us wrong, anytime your kid is practicing math makes us smile. However, not all bored games are created equal when it comes to math practice. Many of the most popular bored games may require simple math concepts, such as counting, addition and subtraction, like many card games, games with numbered spaces to count or games with money. Those games really only allow kids to practice math facts or formulas and they also limit choice quite a bit. Players then don’t have the opportunity to choose different actions, strategize or plan ahead. 

Playing bored games that practice math doesn’t always have to be so boring! Contrary to what you might think, math is not just about repetition and memorization. There are actually many markers for total math competency and a lot of them can be practiced by playing games. Games that include conceptual elements are great ways to experience the beauty of math and its influence on the world. They can help kids develop skills such as resource management, spatial reasoning, complex problem solving, pattern recognition and more.

With that said, let’s take the “bored” out of board games with some of these less traditional games that really aim at helping kids understand a broader scope of fundamental math concepts. There are age recommendations, but every kid is different. Many of them are great for adults, too! 

 

Achi

Achi is a game most famously played in Ghana. It’s similar to tic-tac-toe, however, where tic-tac-toe ends when all squares have been filled/pieces have been played, Achi keeps going as players keep moving their pieces to adjacent spaces until one player achieves 3-in-a-row. 

Recommended ages: 6+

Time to play: 3-5 minutes

Number of players: 2 

Math skills practiced: deduction, logic.

 

Ice Cool

Ice Cool is too cool because it combines two awesome things: penguins and geometry. In each round one player assumes the role of the catcher. Their aim is to catch the other players, who are penguins trying to collect fish hanging from the doors. Players gain victory points for catching others or for collecting fish and the player who has the most points by the time every player has played the catcher wins. It’s great for practicing not only certain math concepts, but also fine motor skills.

Recommended ages: 6+

Time to play: 20 minutes

Number of players: 2 - 4

Math skills practiced: geometry, estimation, counting.

 

Loony Quest

Looney Quest is a drawing game where all players study a level card chosen from a deck for a limited period of time. The card has various targets on it that are noted, like grabbing keys or coins, which is how you score points. Then players try and draw the shape that’s on the card on a transparent piece of paper without looking at the card. The drawing is timed and when the time runs out players take turns overlaying their transparent shapes on the card that’s laid out on the board to see how well their drawing matches up with the card and to see what targets they hit. 

Recommended ages: 8+

Time to play: 20 minutes

Number of players: 2 - 5

Math skills practiced: time management, estimation, spatial reasoning.

 

Tsuro

Tsuro is a tile-based game where players take turns placing tiles to create paths for other players to follow. The objective of the game is to be the last player on the board, so players are generally trying to run the paths off of the board. Placing tiles and following paths is a concept that many younger players can understand, but strategizing about which card to play and where to move on the board to control more of the space and actions of other players is something older players can learn.

Recommended ages: 6+

Time to play: 20 minutes

Number of players: 2 - 8

Math skills practiced: spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, complex problem solving.

 

Laser Khet 2.0

Khet is a board game that’s like chess with two lasers that come built in and pieces that have mirrors on them to be positioned to hit other players’ pieces. The challenge as a player is to protect your pharaoh while maneuvering to "light up" the opposing player's pharaoh.When players move or rotate a pieces, they end their turn by pressing their laser beam. The beam bounces from mirror to mirror around the playing field. This is then what helps players decide which move to make next. 

Recommended ages: 8+

Time to play: 30+ minutes

Number of players: 2 

Math skills practiced: complex problem solving, refraction, geometry

 

We hope these recommendations help bring some math fun into your family. Now that you have a list of games… go play! Also, be sure to let us know at Mathnasium of Stapleton, if we’ve missed any of your favorites.