Contrary to common belief, you do not have to spend a lot of money on educational software and games to enhance your child’s math skills. There are several game pieces and tools that you probably already have at home that are quite effective in reinforcing basic and advanced math skills. All it takes is a little imagination and a desire to make math fun!
One such idea is great for very young children. A simple game of WAR can help your little child practice comparing whole numbers. Take a regular deck of cards. Remove the face cards and the aces from the deck. Let the child deal out all of the cards and then play using the normal rules for WAR. Both players put their cards in a stack face down in front of them. Each player takes a card from the top of their deck and puts it down. The player with the higher number gets to take the cards. The winner is the one who is left holding all of the cards. For an older child that is learning about integers, you can modify this game by making the red cards negative and using the same rules.
Another game that is great for children who need practice with their multiplication facts just requires a set of two dice, paper, and pencil. Each player will roll the dice. They will multiply the two numbers that they get. The player with the highest number gets that number added to their score. Play can continue until one player reaches a set number. The first player to this target is the winner. This is great not only for multiplication help, but the addition required to keep score is also great practice.
Do not forget about games that you already have that provide excellent mathematics practice. Yahtzee, Monopoly, and Sorry are all examples of games that require you to dust off your math skills in order to play them.
Children unfortunately relate math to boring worksheets and endless homework assignments. Creating family fun time that also incorporates math skills is an excellent way to provide quality math practice time, while helping them build their confidence in their own math abilities. Math can be a very fun, daily, activity.