If you’ve heard your child say “I just don’t like math” one too many times, you might want to consider trying a different approach. Many students claim to dislike math because they aren’t fully grasping the lessons. They take out their frustration by lashing out against math as a whole. But a little extra effort outside of the classroom may be just what your child needs to understand and maybe even enjoy math.
One great resource is tutoring, which can give your child the one-on-one attention and personalized lessons he may need. Another thing that you can do is play math games with your child. All it takes is one deck of cards and some free time to get the ball rolling.
There are many wonderful games that can entertain as well as teach. And you just may be able to go a whole game without hearing a single complaint about math.
Multiplication War: A Game for 2nd – 4th Graders
What you’ll need: One deck of cards with Jacks, Queens, and Kings removed (Aces = 1)
Number of Players: 2
Directions: Shuffle the cards and divide them among the two players. Keep the cards face down. Both players must turn over a card at the same time. The first person to multiply the numbers and say the product aloud wins that hand and puts both cards in the bottom of his pile. Repeat until one player has won all the cards.
Other ways to play: If your child needs to take things slower, spread all the cards out in the middle, face down. Both players draw two cards and multiply the numbers in their own hand. Whoever has the highest product wins the cards.
Bullseye: A Game for 4th or 5th Graders
What you’ll need: One deck of cards with Jacks, Queens, and Kings removed (Aces = 1). Paper and pencil for keeping score.
Number of Players: 2 to 6
Directions: Shuffle the cards and deal four cards to each player. Place one card face up in the middle. This will be the target number. Have all the players turn their cards over at the same time. They can add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers of their cards to equal the target number, but all four cards must be used. The first player to do so successfully wins the round. You can play to a certain number of rounds or until one player wins three hands.
Other ways to play: You can score based on difficulty. If the winner of the round used only addition and subtraction to hit the target, he earns one point. If he also used multiplication and division, he earns two points. And hands using only multiplication and division earn three points.
Integer Number Battle: A Game for 5th – 8th graders
What you’ll need: One deck of cards. Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, and Kings = 13 and Aces = 14. Paper and pencil for keeping score.
Number of Players: 2 players or 2 teams
Directions: In this game, black cards are positive integers and red cards are negative integers. Shuffle the cards and divide among the two players (or two teams). Keep the cards face down. Both players must turn over two cards at the same time. Each player must add their cards together and the highest sum wins. Just don’t forget that -3 is greater than -8!
Other ways to play: For more of a challenge, multiply numbers on the cards instead of adding them. Remember that two negative numbers make a positive!
For more games to help your child enjoy math, you can download free tutorials from The Positive Engagement Project.
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