Use crazy fun math games to help your kids think positively about math and set them up for a lifetime of math success!
Easy, Crazy-Fun DIY Math Games For Kids
Lock in a positive attitude towards math for the years to come when you focus on the fun from the beginning.
Most of us know someone with a kid who hates to do math. How did they get that way? When it all comes down to it, math is just numbers. And like I always tell my kids: numbers can’t hurt you.
If your kids are just starting out homeschooling you might be concerned about them becoming one of those kids who eventually hates math. But what if there’s a way to help foster a positive attitude towards math starting now right at the beginning in these early years of homeschooling preschool, kindergarten, and first grade?
Well, here I go saying it again. Focus on the fun!
Let’s say it together, “focus on the fun!”
Give your kids the strongest start they could possibly get with homeschooling by following and focusing on the fun.
Watch your child, and follow what interests them the most. With a little creativity and a little tap into your inner child, you can begin to use their interests and weave in education to the point that they’re learning without even knowing it.
When it comes to math for your youngest kids, the answer is simple: games, games, games!
While there are many wonderful ways to make math fun for young kids, games are a sure winner.
Choose one of your kid’s biggest interests, pair that with a game style and subject matter, and add a huge dose of silliness – you’ll have a recipe for a wonderfully good time and a method for learning retention that will make you rethink workbook curriculum.
Once you’ve learned a few different types of games that you can play with your kids, I’m confident that your creative juices will start to flow. You’ll be coming up with your own silly games that your kids will not only love but embrace as a way to bond with you on a deeper level.
Ready to get started?
Here are a 10 easy DIY go-to games that work great for helping your child with math.
1. Monster Munch
Use a cereal box or a shoebox to craft a monster with a wide open mouth. Feed the monster math problems that are written out on paper or use flash cards. Take turns being the voice of the monster with your child who says the answer to the math problem. Make munching sounds as the monster crunches the math fact. The monster loves “eating math.”
You can also give your monster treats when your child completes a task or answers a question. Your monster loves all kids of snacks!
2. Chuck It
Use large oversized dry erase dice, foam dice, or make your own. Add your math facts on the side of the dice. Chuck the dice down the hallway, across the living room, or in the backyard somewhere. Your child then runs over to it and says the math fact with the answer in a loud crazy silly voice. Try variations like saying “2 plus….” then chuck the die and add whatever number it lands on.
Take turns with your child so that they can have a break between math problems and you can also set the tone for a fun happy silly time. If you’re having fun, they will be having fun.
3. Follow The Cup
This game can be played a few different ways. Get three plastic cups and put them upside down on the table. Put different objects underneath the cups. For example, it could be different math problems written out on pieces of paper for older kids. Or, you could place a number of objects such as pom pom balls, beans, game pieces, any small object.
Mix up the cups in front of your child. Have your child choose one cup to turn over. They either solve the math fact that is under that cup, or say the number of items that are under the cup. Then have them choose another cup. They can continue solving math facts this way, or by using the number of items under the cup to build a math equation that they can then solve.
If your child chooses the empty cup they get a free pass and they don’t have to answer the question. Instead you get to answer it and then mix up the cups again. For a fun twist add a piece of candy under one of these cups or add a special token. If your child chooses a cup with the special token everyone gets up and does a silly dance.
4. Bubble Pop
This game is one of my favorite go-to’s. Use chalk to draw many large bubbles on a sidewalk or patio. Then draw either equations or numbers in the bubbles. I prefer drawing numbers. Announce a math problem. Examples: “Where’s the number 3?” “2 plus 3 is what?” “What’s 27 divided by 3?” “4 plus what is 12?”
Your child then “pops” the bubbles by jumping on top of them. This is a great game to play with multiple kids at different levels because you can ask different levels of questions that have simple answers.
5. Silly Shopper
Hands down the best way to learn how to count, add, and subtract money is by playing store. Make it extra fun by creating some kind of theme for your store. You can use candy, pretend you’re in a pet store, or a cafe.
Think about what your child really likes. Are they really into unicorns? How about a unicorn accessory boutique? Do they love Lego? How about selling some of their latest creations? Get creative and silly.
Make store signs and decorations and use a toy cash register or make your own out of a shoebox. Make a whole day out of creating your silly store as this will provide the materials for you to repeat the activity later on.
When your store is ready to open for business have a grand opening and start shopping! Older kids can be given a grocery list and even some challenges. You can pick up a pack of garage sale pricing stickers at the dollar store that work great with this activity.
How many objects can they buy with a certain amount of money? Older kids can hold a sale – 20% off all merchandise! They can get it some real practice with applying percentages.
6. Smack The Bugs
Another favorite game of ours, smack the bugs is most fun if you’ve got a flyswatter. It may sound silly but fly swatters are always on my school shopping list for the dollar store.
Use flash cards or number cards to place either on a schedule chart or tape around the room or even the yard. Those silly little cards are bugs that must be stopped. However, you can only smack them if you know the answer.
Approach this in two different ways. If your flash cards have an entire equation they can solve the equation and then smack it if they have the right answer. Or if your cards are number cards you can give them an equation and have him smack the bug that is the answer. We’re using my Character Association Flash Cards for this game, they’re a free printable in the PK1Kids Subscriber Freebies Library.
7. Treasure Hunt
If you’re super creative and have some time on your hands you can create a treasure hunt using math problems.
Find objects around your house that can build math into your treasure hunt clues. Examples: “Your next clue is hidden in something with two doors that keep things cold.” (the refrigerator) “Take 5 plus 7 minus 3 plus 4 steps into the hallway to find your next clue.” Or, your child can solve math facts in order to earn the next clue.
8. Snack Match
Here’s an easy low prep game you can play with your child to help them with their math. While working on math problems your child can match the answers or the whole equation with some type of snack food.
Use popcorn, M&Ms, any little snack that you and your child have on hand. This is a wonderful game you can eat!
And don’t think this game is only for the young ones. Older kids can solve complex equations and eat their answers, too!
9. Tangled Up
This is a great game for older kids although you can still adapt it for the younger ones. It takes a little prep work, so you may want to do this the night before after your child goes to bed.
Use yarn to tape around the room to various objects so that you end up with a giant web. Along the way you can tape equations or math facts to the string. Your child has to make it from one end of the string to the other, solving the math facts along the way.
Put some kind of treasure as a reward at the very end of the string. If you have super sticky Post-it notes it will make this go a lot faster to set up. Simply write the math fact on the post it and fold it over the string. The sticky side should hold it to the yarn .
You can also play this game by creating a laser challenge, tacking the math problems to the walls where you attach the yarn.
10. Math Truths or Dare
This game is even more fun if you build a fort first. Bring in some pillows and flashlights, then play Math Turths or Dare.
Quiz your child on a math fact. If they get it right they get to give you a dare.
If they get it wrong, you give them a dare.
Make it fun and silly and you’ve just built some great homeschool memories that will serve your whole family well over the years to come.
I hope you enjoy these really fun ideas for practicing math with your child in a way that always follows the fun.