A whole slew of school years is not complete if your kid isn’t asked to make a board game from scratch.
To be specific, a Math board game.
It’s funny how vocabulary and sports don’t get board game projects--Math teachers notoriously need ways to make their subject matter more fun.
So what’s a parent to do?
Why, do half the work! Just joking.
ABC’s and 123’s are the first things our kids learn even before they reach their preschool years. During those carefree days 1 + 1 is fun and easy to learn, but as they grow older and learning progresses Math can start to become boring and even hard.
In fact, many kids in school today and even in the past have grown to think that Math is hard and go as far as saying that it’s “the worst subject in school.”
If you’re parent with a child who is just starting to learn Math or a parent with a child who is struggling to catch up with their Maths at school, it’s time to take on the reigns and teach them that Math can be fun too!
It may sound like a hard and seemingly impossible task to make your kids like Math especially if you’re not too keen about the subject either, but don’t worry there’s a fun solution.
Turn Mathematics education into a board game where they can forget how hard Math is, but instead think of the subject as fun. Make your kids look forward to learning more about Maths by learning how to create a Math board game at home.
You might just rekindle the Mathematician out of you while turning your child into a Math whiz with these ideas for Maths board games.
Before can create your own Math board game you first have to get acquainted with the basics of making your own board game. This is a skill you can use again and again over time when inspiration strikes and you want to make your own board games at home. Here are some step by step guidelines you can follow:
Step 1: Choose a Game Style
It’s not easy deciding what your style of game would be, but in this case any of your current favorite board game can be mixed and adapted to create an original and personal game you and your kids will enjoy.
Step 2: Break it Down
Basing on the rules of the game you’ve decided to use as a skeleton for your new game, write down all the new rules and mechanics of how to play your game so that you can fully imagine how the game will be played by you and others.
Step 3: Build the Board
Once you’ve imagined the game in your head, it’s time to bring it to life with an actual game board. You can draw it by hand or even print the game board, just be sure to start simple at first with just a basic board you can use in making a Maths board game. There are also templates available online if you don’t want to start from scratch!
Step 4: Create the Game Pieces
This step is only necessary if you need pieces for board game. If not, just move on to the next step. For game pieces you can use simple household items like buttons and pebbles, but make sure to keep these out of reach from small children who might swallow them by mistake.
If you want to go all out, there are 3-D printing options for your game pieces too. The game pieces can include dice, playing cards, and other pieces which will be relevant to your Maths game.
Step 5: Putting it All Together
Once you have the board, the rules, and the game pieces all together it’s time to explain the mechanics to all the players. Once you think they’ve all gotten the essence of the game it’s time to learn and play! Consider this the “beta testing” phase.
You’ll see more mistakes in this game than in any other game you’ve played--which you should expect!
After you’ve built up the confidence in making your own board game from scratch you can dive deeper in learning how to make a Mathematical board game for your kids.
These projects are more specific as they are centered around making Math fun and enjoyable for kids of all ages and maybe even some of the adults at home can join in the fun. First thing to consider when considering how to make a Maths board game for kids is the age and learning capability of children who will play the game.
The older the kids, the more advanced the Math should be so that they will continue learning while at the same time their interest remains on the game itself. For the younger kids who are just learning basic Math, simple numbers and Math skills should be applied.
Here are great projects to try
for different age groups:
Getting familiar with numbers is the first step to developing a child’s basic Math skills. If you have a toddler at preschool age, make a Maths board game that they will easily understand and enjoy playing like this simple counting game. Follow these simple steps to create the Math board game at home:
- Thick and sturdy paper. One white and one color of your choice. Make sure that the colored paper has bigger dimensions than the white as this will serve as a boarder for your game board.
- Regular pencils for sketching.
- Colored markers or pencils t be used for creating the numbers, start, and finish places on the game board.
- Glue stick or any type of glue.
- At least one 6-sided dice.
- Plastic toys to serve as game pieces.
Step by Step Guide:
How to Make Math Board Games for Toddlers
Step 1: Using the regular pencil, lightly sketch out a random pattern on the thick white paper. Any shape and size would do as long as each space can fit a number that can be easily read. For younger kids, it is suggested that the numbers be bigger and simpler.
Step 2: When you are happy with the sketch that you’ve made it’s time to make it more permanent. Using the colored markers or pencils, trace the outline of your sketch. The brighter and bolder the colors the better! Color in the random numbers within the box or circle of your pattern, but leave the first and the last spaces blank. These are for the “start” and “finish” circles.
Step 3: Take your colored paper and measure it against the white thick paper you just drew your board game on. Make sure it is about an inch thicker on each side before gluing one on top of the other with the board game facing upward.
Step 4: Gather the game pieces, be careful with these small objects they can pose as a choking hazard. Get the kids together and let the game begin.
Mechanics and Rules of the Game:
There are no special rules or mechanics to this DIY Math board game for toddlers. Simply start the game on the “start” block, roll the dice and move the game piece when the number shown on the dice is the same on the next block on the game board.
The first one to reach the “finish” block is the winner. Little kids will learn how to identify numbers quickly while having fun. To add a bit of a challenge for older kids, use 2 or more dice and get them to add the numbers on each to see if they get to move their piece.
Simple yet fun and educational, learning how to make Maths board games like this is really beneficial to your growing child!
Pre-schoolers are easier to entertain and please when it comes to homemade board games. As long as the game is colorful enough, it will most likely capture their attention.
The same cannot be said about kids who are already in grade school. At this age they are slowly developing interests of their own and there’s a big chance that Math isn’t one of those interests.
Getting them to participate in a board game with Math as a basic concept might be tricky, but learning how to make Math board games fun and competitive is a strategy you can use. Here is a DIY addition and multiplication Math board game project you can try at home:
- Wide cardboard, wide enough to accommodate at least 121 one inch individual squares.
- Ruler to be used as a guide while drawing straight lines.
- Highlighter for shading in the special double point boxes
- Or simply just download and print a template with 11 rows and 11 columns
Step by Step Guide:
How to Make Your Own Math Board Game
Step 1: If you have chosen to print out a template you can skip this step. If you have not, it’s time to get your cardboard, ruler, and pencils.
Create a game board with 11 identical rows and columns, makes sure that all 121 boxes are even in length and width. Make sure to leave space on your cardboard for the scoring sheet.
Step 2: On the edges of both row and column boxes, write the numbers 1 – 10.
Step 3: On the very middle of the identical boxes, 5th row at the 5th column, place the answer. If you are doing multiplication write 25 and if you are choosing to practice addition write 10 in the middle. This will serve as the starting point of your game.
Step 4: Choose a few random boxes to be considered as double points. Mark these boxes by coloring them it with the highlighter. Using a highlighter can enable you to color in the boxes while still leaving the space writable.
Step 5: Roll out the dice and let the competition begin!
Mechanics and Rules of the Game:
This DIY Math board game is a great way to practice both addition and multiplication skills. The first player rolls the dice and the number shown is how many squares away from the center you should count, making those squares available to be answered.
Let’s say the first player rolls a 4, count 4 squares starting at the center, moving away in all directions to pinpoint which squares are available. The score is equivalent to the answer given, so the harder the problem solved the higher the score.
If the problem answered is on a highlighted square, the score is doubled but the answer written on the square should be the correct not doubled number. After choosing and answering the square, it is the next player’s turn.
When the player rolls the dice, the number rolled will determine how many spaces from the previously answered number he or she is allowed to answer. If the number rolled cannot be played on the game board, the player loses a turn.
This will happen more often as the game progresses and more of the squares will be filled. Scores will be tallied at the side and the one with the most points wins the game!
This simple yet competitive Math board game is a great way to encourage kids to practice their addition and multiplication skills.
Most won’t even know that they’re studying Math because of how much they’ll enjoy trying to win the game. It is worth it learning how to create a Math board game like this one at home.
The pre-schoolers are covered and so are the elementary school kids. What about the middle school kids? The older the kids, the harder it is for them to concentrate on a subject they don’t particularly enjoy like Math.
Although this specific DIY Math game is best played in a classroom setting where there are a lot of kids participating, the Bingo Math game can also be played at home as long as there are at least 2 players.
For teachers and parents, here are the step by step instructions you can follow to make this fun and interactive Math board game:
- Bingo cards for each player.
- A list of Math questions with their answers. Remember not to make it too hard to comprehend as students will have to solve the problem in just a few seconds.
- Small but sturdy square pieces of cardboard for the Bingo chips with the Math questions.
- Empty box to be used as a mixing box for the Bingo chips.
- Bingo markers. This can be as simple as a colored marker or a bingo chip to place onto of the card as the game progresses.
- Pad paper and pens for the kids to use to solve the Math problems.
Step 1: Gather a list of Math questions you want to ask, along with all the answers. This will prepare you for what numbers you need to print out on your soon to be made Bingo cards.
Step 2: Making the Bingo cards. You can hand draw these cards or print them out using a template. Make sure that the cards have the answers for your Math problems, but mix them so that the patterns are random.
The link to the Bingo card template allows you to put in the number before printing, but you can also choose to hand write the numbers using felt tip markers. If you do use markers, make sure the Bingo card is thicker than normal paper so that the ink does not bleed through the other side.
The great thing about this game is that the answers can be for more than just one question and don’t just range from numbers. You can include short alphanumeric answers for algebra questions too!
Step 3: Creating the Bingo chips. Write down all your questions on the small but sturdy square pieces of cardboard. This will then be placed inside the empty box which will be shaken before a random Bingo chip with the Math question is taken from the mix when the game begins.
Step 4: Distribute the homemade Bingo cards to your kids along with the scratch paper and Bingo markers.
Step 5: Let the Mathematical Bingo begin!
Mechanics of the Game:
Much like the game of regular Bingo the Math version is also won by chance and luck, but also with a twist. Instead of simply just calling out the numbers to be marked on the Bingo card, the children will have to solve the problem given at random for a certain amount of time. If the correct answer is found on their card they mark it out and proceed with the game. After one student has formed the pattern required with all the right answers, the win the game!
The projects mentioned above are all Math board games parents can make for their children to practice Math. Those are all games made from scratch, but there is another trick on how to make board games for kids.
As simple as the previously mentioned step by step guides are there are still a few shortcuts you can use to make learning Math as easy and as enjoyable as possible. Here are a few things to consider when making a Math board game at home:
- Use recycled materials and other materials you already have at home as a substitute. This cuts down the cost of materials you need to use and gives purpose to things like old buttons, old toys, etc. that you would normally just throw away.
- Repurpose old board games. The versatility of the old game boards you have are limitless. If you don’t want to create a new game board you can use old ones like checkers or chess boards and add your own Math twist to the game. Check out this checker board Math game to give you other ideas.
- For parents: When you notice that your child is starting to lose interest in the Math board game, call an end to the game. This will ensure that they will not get bored with the game and continue playing next time.
- For students: If you are learning how to make your own Maths board game for a school project make sure that all the other kids can join in your game. Make it simple yet challenging by applying the current Math lessons you are learning. Don’t forget to ask your parents for help!
- Make the game challenging, but not too difficult. Math is a complicated subject already. The goal of the Math board game is to make learning the subject fun and easy. If the game you have created is too complicated to understand, it will defeat the purpose of creating the game in the first place.
Parents should be involved with their child’s learning and development starting from an early age. Encouraging your child to love and appreciate Math from a young age can be helpful as they proceed to higher education.
By making Math fun and enjoyable kids are more likely to learn faster and retain the lessons from the games they have played.
Although each child has their personal learning curve and as a parent or teacher this should be considered when letting them play with the homemade Maths board game there is a game perfect for their comprehension level.
Getting creative and resourceful is all part of making any DIY projects more so with board games. Don’t get frustrated after you’ve run into some complications the first few times you try to create your own Math board game, practice does make perfect in this sense.
If you have the time join your kids when they play these Math games at home, it’s a great way to refresh your basic Math skills while showing your kids that even adults can love Math games. Why not ask the kids themselves for ideas on how to make a board game for kids?