Mathematical Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Many children have hobbies, and most enjoy playing games with their families. One way families can do more math together is to play games that involve strategic thinking and reasoning, and point out the mathematics in them. Families can also spend time together exploring mathematical materials like blocks and puzzles, and collections of things like buttons or baseball cards. Also, reading together offers many opportunities for familes to talk about and do math together. See Mathematical Children's Literature for suggestions.
- Board games (such as Monopoly)
- Card games (e.g. Go Fish, rummy)
- 2-D and 3-D Puzzles
- Sewing, quilting
- Construction toys (such as building blocks, Legos, or Kinex)
- Collections of things (stamps, coins, baseball cards, buttons, etc.)
- Building models
- Oragami and paper folding
- Commercially-available materials (such as connecting cubes, Geoblocks or pattern blocks)
- Math Packs (by TERC): Counting Games: How Many In All?; Number Games from 10 to 20: More Less, or Equal?; Data Games: Use the Clues!; and Computational Games: How Close Can You Get?
- Computer software such as The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, Zoombinis: Mountain Rescue, and Zoombinis: Island Odyssey by The Learning Company. (Also from the designers of Zoombinis: Yoiks!, available from Sunburst Technology.)
Websites with Math Activities
These sites provide math problems, games and activities that family can do together, off of the computer.
- At Home with Math: Ten Math Activities for Parents and Kids. Games and activities that families can do to include math in their everyday routines. Available in English and Spanish.
- Aunty Math: Math Challenges for K-5 Learners. A new math problem every other week. Visitors are encouraged to solve the problem and then share their work with an adult, friend or classmate.
- Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins. Mathematical actvities for parents and their 2- to 5-year old children.
- Figure This!: Math Challenges for Families. 80 sets of 4 paper-and-pencil questions that illustrate challenging middle school mathematics, from The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Hints and answers are provided.
- Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics. A booklet that includes activities adults can use with children in preschool through grade 5, to help strengthen their math skills. Also available in Spanish.
- The Math Forum Student Center. Links to games, resources, math software, mailing lists and other reference materials related to learning and teaching math.
- Mixing in Math. "Quick ways to mix math in to what after-school programs already do: sports, snack time, arts and crafts, playground games." The K-7 activities are "easy to prep ... easy to lead ... free ... and can complement homework in a variety of ways." Also available in Spanish.
- Sample Actvities: Math Everyday. Suggestions for doing meaningful mathematics while engaged in typical everyday activities like shopping in the grocery store, visiting the post office, traveling, cooking, or reading together.
- Summer Home Learning Recipes. Reading, writing, math and science activities families can do at home.
Books of Math Activities
These books provide math problems, games and activities that families can do together. Check your local library.
- Allison, Linda and Weston, M. (1993). Eenie meenie, miney math: math play for you and your preschooler. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.
- Apelman, Maya and King, Julie. (1993). Exploring everyday math: ideas for students, teachers, and parents. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
- Burns, Marilyn. The book of think (1976), The I hate mathematics! book (1975), Math for smarty pants (1982) and This book is about time (1978). Boston, MA: Little, Brown. (These and other Brainy Day Books are also available through Math Solutions Publications.)
- Kaye, Peggy. (1987). Games for math. NY: Pantheon Books.
- Mokros, Jan. (1996). Beyond facts and flashcards: exploring math with your kids. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
- Pappas, Theoni. (1997). Math for Kids & Other People Too! Wide World Publishing, Tetra. (Other Pappas titles include: The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat, The Further Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat, and Fractals, Googols and Other Mathematical Tales.)
- Robertson, Laurel. (2000) Homeside math: K-2 standards based math ideas for parents. Oakland, CA: Developmental Studies Center.
- Stenmark, Jean Kerr, Thompson, Virginia, and Cossey, Ruth. (1986). Family Math. Published by Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley. (Also available: Family Math II by Grace Dávila Coates and Virginia Thompson (2003); Family Math for Young Children by Grace Dávila Coates and Jean Kerr Stenmark (1997); Family Math: The Middle School Years by Virginia Thompson and Karen Mayfield-Ingram (1998); and Matemática Para La Familia by Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, and Ruth Cossey (1987).)
- Tierney, Cornelia and Russell, Susan Jo. (2001). Ten-minute math. Dale Seymour Publications.
- VanCleave, Janice. (1991). Janice VanCleave's Math for Every Kid: Easy Activities That Make Learning Math Fun. Jossey-Bass. (Also see: Janice VanCleave's Geometry for Every Kid: Easy Activities That Make Learning Geometry Fun.)
- Zaslavsky, Claudia. (1998). Math games & activities from around the world. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press.
Children's literature can also provide opportunities to do math together. See Mathematical Children's Literature for suggestions.