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Importance of Math Games

August 16, 2018


Math games are not just fun to play, they can also be a highly effective way to help your child, with a long list of benefits. Kids respond to learning when engaged, challenged, and enjoying their tasks. There is quite a difference when kids are active participants!

Games create a context for developing math skills. Through games, kids can discover ways to apply what they have learned in the classroom. They feel motivated to find creative solutions and take an active part in their own learning.

Games provide opportunities to explore math concepts, and notice new patterns and relationships. While playing, kids can test out different strategies and ideas, determining their efficiency, and also learn from others’ ways of thinking. With this chance for exploration and trying out new ideas and theories, understanding is deepened and reasoning skills are strengthened.

Games offer another way to practice computational fluency, in a more engaging way than traditional drills and worksheets. By using games, the practice is more meaningful and purposeful– players develop thinking strategies and understanding of number relationships instead of absorbing isolated facts. Research shows that drills and timed tests are not as effective as math games in developing fact mastery.

Math games can even help reduce math anxiety. Kids are less self-conscious about their abilities and knowledge while playing games since they are busy having fun. They worry less about failing or making a mistake during a game than they might during traditional math practice. Games give kids the opportunity to test out ideas and strategies without the pressure of grades, so they feel more freedom to try something new. In turn, they are more likely to have a more positive attitude toward math.

Through playing games with your child, you can learn about their mathematical thinking and level of understanding. By watching for strategies used by your child and observing the decisions they make in a game, you can gain better insight into their strengths and weaknesses. And, if needed, you can use this information to help you modify the game to meet the needs of your child. After playing a game, you can reflect on it with your child, giving them some accountability while also allowing you to glean more information on their grasp of the concepts practiced. Ask them what skill it was that you were practicing, what strategies did they use in the game, how they might change their strategies if you played again, and how could the game be modified to make it more challenging. Beyond developing math skills, playing games are a great way to connect with your child.

Again, the list of benefits of using games when teaching and reinforcing math skills is quite long. There are clear reasons you should make effort to share games with your child and encourage them to practice through interactive methods.

What games have you enjoyed playing with your child? What benefits have you seen from playing math games?

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