Math(s) games

A discussion on FB about literacy led on to numeracy, and I thought I’d put them in a blog post for ease. 

First up I must confess that I love math. I also love math with an s, too. I just dig numbers and all the cool things you can do with them. 

Numbers don’t scare me or phase me (but worksheets do). I’m confident enough that should I ever need to up my math game I could buckle down and do the work. This is the attitude I would like pass on to Nomi and Zoey: confident with numbers and maths, and if they need to up their game for pursuing an interest/job/survival-in-a-post-apocalyptic-world they can do the work to get there. (Heck that goes for everything else as well. Self directed learners FTW!) 

I noticed with N and Z that they had more of an interest in numbers and counting, than in letters and words. So we play board games with dice, cards and dominos. Lots of counting and number recogniztion. It all came slowly and naturally without being forced or smothered. 

I’ve seen Sum Swamp being recommended on various blogs, and it’s a great game. You have three dice (two number and one operations) and they make a simple sum with every throw. We love it. We had to tweak the rules to make it work for us. One of my daughters is rather competitive and is not happy when the tide turns against her in a game. 

We put “term limits” for how long you could get stuck waiting to throw an odd or even number (three goes) before moving regardless, and the Endless Loop can be a hot mess. For the Endless Loop we limited it to a maximum of three loops round before the exit activates, and EVERYONE can leave.

After we’d been playing Sum Swamp for a bit a friend shared on Twitter this blog post by Denise Gaskin. Love it. Ran out and got multiple packs of cards to make Math Cards for us all. 

I went on to read Denise’s Maths You Can Play: Counting & Number Bonds, Addition & Subtract book (super quick and brilliant read) and I have her next book on Multiplication & Fractions ready for when we get there. 

We are slowly working through all the different math games in her book, but we always come back to Math War, and Math War Addition (only with cards numbered 1-5 at this point). It’s simple, fast and fun. You can play it anywhere. 

Zeus on the Loose is another great game, and thanks to Denise we’ve tweaked to work for us. It’s a card game where you are trying to hit 100 and have ownership of Zeus by playing number cards & special god cards (google it if that made no sense). Easiest way to keep track of the total is by using a 1-100 board, and buttons. We also keep our hands open in front of us rather than hidden. 

So this is how we are playing maths at the moment, and I plan on getting Prime Climb in a year or so as that is another game I’ve heard great things about. 

What are your favorite (math) games? 


Seasons of Books

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein

Last Christmas, the one where we were not living in a Kafka-esque nightmare, I started to read aloud chapter books to Nomi and Zoey. They had complained that their picture books at bedtime were not long enough. Fantastic I thought, let’s start digging into longer books, and it’s been a brilliant year of reading aloud.

Not only do we have books to chat about but I’ve seen the language and stories from the pages transfer to the girls imaginative play.


We’ve read:

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl*
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl*
  • The Mouse on the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
  • Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
  • Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
  • Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
  • Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
  • Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson
  • Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgred*
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • The Waterhorse by Dick King Smith
  • The Queen’s Nose by Dick King Smith*
  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
  • The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
  • Clementine’s Letter by Sara Pennypacker
  • A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
  • Letters From Paddington by Michael Bond
  • The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton*
  • Up the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton*
  • The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton*
  • The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton*

Anything with an * means we’ve read it at least three times, and will probably be read multiple times in 2017.

Not all my picks have gone well, these are the books we stopped reading due to peril or slowness of the plot.

No doubt we’ll try them again in a year or so. It’s not a race or a competition. We just want to fill our lives with stories, if that means a few wrong turns then so be it, and if that means reading the same books over and over again that’s cool too.

Hurrah for November 

I should be casting on my secret Christmas knitting but thought I’d put finger tips to keyboard instead. 

Friends, the Pingus have turned five. FIVE. They are so big, and awesome, and yet still so small (especially when they are flash mobbed by older kids when they are giving out Halloween candy). We rode the train of excitement right through birthdays and into Halloween, and now all is calm again. You know, until they start asking when it’s going to snow because my girls love snow. 

We’ve already had sledge anxiety setting in. One night Z couldn’t sleep because “Are we getting a sledge this year, mama” and “Too big to slide in boxes, mama”.  Then it moved on to where we should go sledging, and perhaps we could find a meet-up group for sledging. Bless them. I promised that as soon as sledges appeared in Target or Costco we’d buy one so we’d be ready. 

What I read: August and September 

Hello, my friends. I’d love to tell you that my blogging silence has been because I’ve been reading all the books but I’ve just been knackered. I emerge from the summer and early fall slightly less knackered. Is it the yoga, is it the iron supplements or is it having had a visit from my mum?

Anyway, books. Way back in August I reset the font on my kindle to a dyslexic font and it is the bees knees. So much easier to read that in August I read three books! 

  • Deep South by Paul Theroux
  • Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear
  • At Betram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie 

All three were excellent in their own ways. Come September I started Battle Cry Freedom, and I’m still reading it. I ended up alternating chapters of BCF and Nemisis by Agatha Christie. So far on my reading of all the Miss Marples this one is my favorite, mainly because Miss Marple has to content with a nasty case of mansplaining. 

On the audiobook front I finished A Career of Evil by Robert “JK Rowling”Galbraith and Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. I got the octopus book because of my two not-so-little octonauts, and I was practically in tears. Octopuses are so smart, and love escaping. I won’t look at them in the aquarium in quite the same light. 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: