Making Math Fun: Best Board Games

Yes you really can make math fun!  Math is a lot more engaging when it’s immediately useful and part of a game, activity or scenario. Here are some “best of the best” board games, to make your math practice more engaging and fun!

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Making Math Fun list #1: Board games!


Exact Change

 This game teaches the value of money and how to calculate change.  The goal is to discard all of your cards – which you can do by matching the last color played, the last value (i.e. penny) played, or by matching the total value of the last card played (i.e. you discard two dimes and a nickle on a quarter).


Number Ninjas!

This game reminds me a bit of “Clue”.  You roll the dice to move your ninja around the board and collect all of the ninja weapons.  When you reach a weapon, you have to correctly answer a math question to collect it.  Once you have all of the weapons, you win by reaching the center of the board.  Hi-yah!


Pizza Fractions Fun

We whip these out every time we reach fractions in the math curriculum.  They can be used to explain exchanges (equivalent fractions), and adding / subtracting / multiplying / dividing fractions.  Plus they are fun!  The most difficult part is getting all of the pieces back from the kids when we’re done, as they always want to play with them!


Place Value Safari

 To play this game, each person must fill in a 100 chart with 10 bars and units based on a roll of a die.  Even my math challenged youngest quickly was able to exchange and add the pieces.


Sum Swamp

 An eternal favorite at my house – to the extent that I refuse to play it anymore!  Luckily my kids can all manage it without my participation.  It reinforces simple addition and subtraction.  To play, you roll two number dice and a third die that has plus and minus symbols on it.  Then, create a problem from the values rolled to know how far to move on the game board.  First one out of the swamp wins!


Dino Tracks

 This game reinforces place value – the different paths are worth different amounts – ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.  It does require some reading ability or a helper to read the problem cards.


The Allowance Game

 In this game, you do chores to earn your allowance – and then you get to spend it!  It reinforces money concepts such as making change, plus addition and subtraction skills.


PayDay

 This one is a more adult version of the Allowance Game.  In it, you collect your paycheck, and occasionally receive surprise bills you have to pay.  You also may land on squares which give you the chance to invest in different business ventures, which will pay off big if you land on the correct square to sell your business before the end of the game.  If you’re short on funds, you can borrow money from the bank – interest is 10% each month (yikes!).   Another eternal favorite at my house!


Monkey Math

 This one is great for the younger kids.  In it you hang bananas on the monkeys arms – and if the equation is balanced, his arms will be straight out.  An excellent introduction to addition!


Totally Tut

 This game has an easy and a hard mode.  First, you draw a total card and place it at the top of your pyramid.  Then, you draw number and symbol cards and make equations on the rows below that each calculate to your total.  In easy mode, just add and subtract operands are used; the hard mode adds multiply and divide.


OK that’s my list of math fun with board games!

Have you played any of these?  Any comments, or any great games to add?