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? 


Fairies at the bottom of the garden 



Nomi and Zoey wore their fairy costumes for the whole day. The whole day. They are not big on costumes and since Halloween they have barely touched their fairy skirts and wings. Their words and imaginations dress them when they play. 

But today, they made themselves masks as I was sorting through my fabric stash. (I’m itching to start sewing again but first the big reorg  and then cutting lots of things out.) 

There’s an element of Silence of the Lambs in their masks. 

Then they decided to get dressed as fairies and that was them for the day. Zoey had over done it yesterday and was beat today. So we pottered in the garden. I used the Dutch hoe my mum got me last year to break up weeds. I poo-poo it when she ordered it from Amazon (imported from the UK) but my word it does the business. 

Then we shifted soil from the back yard to the front to fill a raised bed. Much excitement over worms we uncovered.  The girls decided they wanted to pick the worms up, and once they’d done it there was no worm left untouched. 

Their comfort level of things in the garden has been a slow boil over the last three years. It’s all been at their pace. Yesterday, after Nomi took off to chase a squirrel I reminded the girls that we don’t touch wild animals and then today there was much discussion about whether or not worms were wild. I had to clarify that they were wild but they wouldn’t bite so an exception to the rule: “Mama said no touching squirrels but worms are fine, why mama why?”. 

I baked up a quarter batch of monster cookies today. All ready for the weekend, and Alex is off to IKEA tonight to get some much needed storage. Nomi and Zoey are v excited about having furniture to assemble when they wake up! 


“I wish I had a journal…”

I was running out of steam by the end of the day. Shocker, right considering it rained most of the day.

We sat down to eat dinner and the girls both started asking questions about the flowers on the table. They wanted to know all the parts, and I was just done. I didn’t have the energy for us to get out a book so I said that we could look up the information tomorrow, and that I’d write their questions down in my journal so we wouldn’t forget. 

Zoey said to me, “I wish I had a journal.” I asked her if she wanted to track her interests but no, “I just want to write down your questions and what you want to do.” 

Hearts for eyes, Zoey, hearts for eyes. 

Our weekend: trains! 

On Saturday we took a short train ride together, there was much excitement and the girls packed their “suitcases” for the trip. 

It was just fantastic seeing how much they enjoyed the whole experience. Next time we promised them a longer trip on the express. 

Zoey and Nomi were also interested in seeing the signals and crossing over the tracks. If only it hadn’t been so cold we could have lingered. 

Come on spring, lots of fun things to do outside. 

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