Games and Activities to Do Offline

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.

  • Checkers
  • Chess
  • Backgammon
  • Mancala
  • Mastermind
  • Board games (such as Monopoly)
  • Card games (e.g. Go Fish, rummy)
  • Uno
  • Set
  • Krypto
  • 24
  • Tangrams
  • Dominoes
  • 2-D and 3-D Puzzles
  • Sewing, quilting
  • Construction toys (such as building blocks, Legos, or Kinex)
  • Cooking
  • 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.

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.