Clumsy Thief: A Cartoony Card Game For Adding Big Numbers

Clumsy Thief is a wacky, cartoony math game that kids will beg to play–and also happens to be amazingly effective at teaching kids to mentally add big numbers. There are two versions (both of them awesome) that teach mental addition. The original game teaches kids number pairs that add to 100. The newer game, Clumsy Thief In The Candy Store, … Read More

Math Music: How To Make A Xylophone With Water Glasses

how to make a xylophone with water glasses

This year in Math Quest camp, I decided to teach the kids how to make a xylophone with glasses of water, mixing music and math. It was even more awesome (and easier) than I’d expected! I loved how this activity mixed music, math, science and technology, and was fun and challenging for kids of all ages. You don’t need fancy … Read More

The Perimeter Game: A Hands-On Geometry Game

perimeter geometry game

This perimeter geometry game was inspired by this short conversation with a 4th grader: Me: What’s perimeter? 4th grader: It’s where when the two sides are the same, then you um, I mean you times them by two. Me: Ok…I see where you’re going with that. But what does perimeter mean? 4th grader: I know, but I can’t really explain it. A … Read More

Pay The Difference: A Subtraction Game With a Money Twist

subtraction game with a money twist

This cool subtraction game gets played a lot in my house. It packs in a ton of learning, and it’s a game kids really, really like. (The fact that it uses REAL MONEY probably has something to do with it.) Kids will compare numbers, mentally subtract to find out “how much more”, count coins, and understand the concept of subtraction as difference … Read More

Miss Brain’s Cool Math Games Just Got Even Better

Miss Brain's Cool Math Games

Miss Brain’s Cool Math Games started out as an idea: a way to make math more fun for kids by helping them learn with dice and card games. The idea grew into an actual book, followed a year later by its sequel: Miss Brain’s Cool Math Games, Level 2, with games for higher grades. Since then, more than 3,000 kids all over the … Read More

Pigs In A Pen: A Beginning Multiplication Game

pigs in a pen multiplication game

It’s hard to find a good multiplication game that actually teaches the concept of multiplication. Pigs In A Pen is my go-to game for introducing kids to the idea of multiplication as adding equal groups. Kids really like the tactile nature of this game, counting out rubber bands and “gems”, and to count their points more quickly they will naturally begin to … Read More

Money Bags Game: A Kid Favorite for Counting Money

Money Bags game review

The Money Bags game by Learning Resources is a teacher’s and a parent’s dream: it helps kids learn counting money and other math skills, is quick and easy to play, it works with mixed ages, and kids seriously love this game. Read my review of Money Bags (after 3 years of playing it with kids), learn how to play it, and … Read More

Fibonacci In Nature: A Math Exploration For Kids

Fibonacci for kids

One of the coolest ways to show kids math in the real world is to introduce them to Fibonacci in nature! Fibo-whaaat? you might ask. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers that follows a math pattern so simple that even a first grader can follow it. Here’s how it works… Nature’s Secret Number Code Take a look at … Read More

The REAL Reason Girls Say They’re Bad At Math

the real reason girls say they're bad at math

It’s a little shocking when you hear a gap-toothed 6-year-old girl say, “I’m bad at math!” Tragically, it’s not uncommon for girls as young as 1st or 2nd grade to start saying they’re no good at math. By 4th grade, most of her peers will be saying the same thing. But here’s the crazy part: she will continue to believe … Read More

The Parent’s Must-Have Guide to Math Help For Kids

math help for kids: a guide for parents

Math help for kids is harder than it sounds, especially when it’s your own kid. No matter how hard you try to explain, it only makes things worse. Here’s a little secret: trying to explain math to your child is one of the least helpful things you can do. When your child feels stuck and is frustrated, it’s not just because she … Read More