Sunday, February 3, 2019

Do math & tickle Mama: A sneakily educational game

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Here's a fun game you can use to help your kids practice their math facts, such as addition or the multiplication tables. They probably won't ever notice they're doing drills!

First, have them make some flashcards. You don't need anything special for this, just whatever paper you have around. We folded ours in half lengthwise and then fourths the other way. I think. Just do whatever looks good. I won't check.

Have your kids copy out a selection of math facts at their skill level. If you have a printed version, they can copy from that. Otherwise, you can write some out or dictate if they can't figure it out on their own. Have them print one side with just the problem and the reverse with the whole dealio or just the answer. Don't worry about how messy or goofy the writing is. As long as you can all decipher it, you're good to go.

Just writing the flashcards is good practice! And once they're made, you can use them in all manner of games and practice activities, adding to them as their math skills increase. If you have children at multiple levels, consider making each set in a separate color of paper or ink, and then rubber band each set individually when not in use. (NB: Don't be concerned that one of my children never wears pants.)

Now for the game, which we have named Tickle Mama! Your ruffians start as far from you as your room will allow. You give each one a math question in turn, using their respective deck. If they get a question right, they take one step forward. A wrong answer is penalized by one step back.

When they reach Mama, watch out — tickle time for the question giver!

It's just as horrifying as these pictures portray.

That's it! We allow "cheating" in our game — counting on fingers, asking for hints, and the like. Be sure to enhance your reaction to the tickles, whooping it up and trying to run away before calling a truce. The more you laugh, the more they will. Keep it fun and light, and they'll enjoy the game and ask for it by name.

And if they practice a little math, all the better, hey?

For more everyday ways to enjoy learning together, check out my homeschooling idea book:

What Will We Learn Today? gives you more than 550 quick and simple homeschooling activities.

Buy the PDF e-book version on Amazon:

The ideas are time- and child-tested activities that our kids enjoy. For them, there's no division between "learning" and "life" — it's all of one piece. These idea-joggers use very little in the way of special materials or money but give a lot in terms of natural learning and family connection.



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