11 Games to Help Children Learn Math

Abstract thinking, numerical notion, and the logic of reality are aspects that are discovered in games to help children learn math.
11 Games to Help Children Learn Math

Last update: 16 April, 2022

Abstract thinking, the notion of numbers, and the logic of reality are key aspects present in games to help children learn math. It’s about incorporating these elements – at least the basic ones – into our reality and then, practically automatically, using them daily in our lives.

Mathematics is a pillar of traditional education and its learning is unavoidable at school.

Although there are children who are born with a curiosity about these scientific subjects, there are also those who – more moved by other aspects such as sports, the arts, or literature – have no interest in mathematics. We must motivate them more and make their study easy with games and extracurricular activities that make them see numbers everywhere.

When it comes to giving gifts, we can divert the focus from conventional ideas and opt for gifts that improve their learning in mathematics.

For this, there is this idea of 11 types of games to learn mathematics.

1. Combine numbers and shapes

When they’re just entering the world of numbers, memory games are an option for them to relate shapes and numbers.

A memory game where the idea is to match geometric shapes and numbers, as well as matching the card with the number of images that match the number, may be the best option.

These types of games are even easy to make, so with colored cardboard, scissors, and imagination, you could do this task with your child.

A child writing letters on the blackboard.

2. Songs

Stimulate the child’s memory with the incorporation of mathematics with songs about numbers. In the same way, using activities where children practice math to the beat of the music will serve as games to learn to add and subtract.

Movies and television series where children are taught through music have confirmed the effectiveness of this dynamic or strategy.

3. Riddles

Riddles and brain teasers are a fun way to develop logical reasoning. Start with a simple riddle and increase complexity as the child overcomes the obstacles.

4. Sports

Sports, both watching them and practicing them, are also an excellent way to keep fit and an opportunity to stimulate mathematical reasoning in your children. Counting the laps, jumps, balls, or goals that each one achieves as well as keeping a complete “score” or table of positions of a tournament that they plan will be interesting to introduce mathematics without them even noticing.

A young girl doing advanced math on the blackboard.

5. Applications or video games to help children learn math

Currently, there are endless applications and portals where children are exposed to small games to learn mathematics or improve their understanding of basic concepts. In addition, these games, whether online or downloadable, reinforce the knowledge that the child acquires in school. Make technology an ally to facilitate teaching tasks.

For example, download mental agility programs to your cell phone and computer. In video games, choose didactic games: Kids have fun, learn, and exercise healthy competition.

Robotics games, laboratories, and astronomy are other beneficial activities when it comes to teaching pure science.

6. The concept of quantity and number sense

Quantity is a mathematical notion present in many board games. From the roll of the dice and the number of movements and, depending on the luck each player has, moving forward or backward, adding or multiplying, these operations are practiced in the context of laughter and mischief.

The simplest card games or dominoes involve learning to handle numbers visually and mentally. In fact, many games are based on arithmetic operations whose computational speed will determine victory or defeat.

7. Chess

Mathematics and chess go hand in hand. Concentration, the development of strategies to solve problems, and logical thinking are part of the resources that this ancient game displays in those who practice it, be they children, young people, or adults.

Chess allows you to playfully work on notions such as space, distance, turns, positions, and movements. Straight and diagonal lines describe sketches of itineraries that are elaborated in the mind, with multiple combinations that vary -sometimes without actually being executed- depending on the opponent’s movements.

Chess provides curiosity, interest, and perseverance in the search for solutions.

8. Strategy Games

Strategy games help a child understand a problem, come up with a plan, execute it, and examine the solution. To do this, they must understand the rules of the game, know the rules and turns, and identify what elements bring victory, defeat, or a draw.

When conceiving the strategy, challenges are devised and results are sought. Then comes putting it into practice to test it.  In these types of games, children discover what strategies are the best to win, what can be done to avoid losing, and certain issues related to chance usually come up.

9. Board games to help children learn math

In these games, operations that allow number recognition and counting, mental calculation, and number sense are important. Problem solving and strategy are associated with board games, as well as probabilistic reasoning, spatial visualization, and logical reasoning.

Board games draw a comparison between the demands of a game of strategy and those of problem-solving. Addressing a problem calls for requirements and possible actions. 

They’re also based on strategies that are applied, that is, that are played. Did the strategy work? If it worked, then we’ll see if it’s possible to model the experience and apply it to other games. This is how we solve problems.

10. Puzzles and constructions

Puzzles help develop a sense of liberation, escape, and relaxation, as they’re a kind of work of art that causes pleasure not only when viewed but also at the time of its construction.

They involve various degrees of difficulty and abstraction that, when resolved, cause satisfaction and pleasure. Puzzles are a strict and sublime combination of rules and pieces, of axioms and quantities.

What games provide when it comes to learning mathematics

The use of games in math class allows kids to develop mathematical concepts and specific skills, promoting the natural practice of algorithms and experimentation. It facilitates the development of perception and reasoning skills, and the application of logical and heuristic thinking necessary for problem-solving.

Games encourage the investigation of new and original techniques to break work routines, providing motivation and stimulation.

“A well-chosen mathematical game can lead the student of any level to the best vantage point of observation and initial approach to any of the subjects of study they have to face.”

Miguel de Guzman

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