OK, so bunnies are leaping, baby chicks hatching, and seasonal baskets are overflowing with green plastic grass and foil eggs. Your kid’s mind is heavily weighted with dreams of Easter chocolate. But that doesn't mean you can't still have fun with math!
From first through third grade, and even somewhat in fourth, your child will be solidifying concepts of place value: the difference that happens when a digit appears in the “ones” column, or “tens,” or “hundreds,” and so on. Here's a spring-themed, whimsical math logic game that you can play over your spring holiday. Play it with your elementary school child to reinforce math skills, but don't be surprised if older kids, and parents, decide to jump in for a piece of the action.
What You Do:
- In this game, players will compete to try to guess a secret number which has been set by a leader. The leader should think up the number, being sure that there are no repeating digits (the numbers 232, 444, or 355, for example, would all be forbidden). The leader should jot down the number on a piece of paper for private reference during the game.
- Players must try to guess the number. The leader will respond with clues:
- If NO digits are correct, the leader says, “Bunny!”
- If any one digit is correct, but it’s in the wrong place, the leader says “Rabbit!”
- If one digit is correct AND in the right place, the leader says “Jelly!”
- If two digits are correct AND in the right place, the leader says “Jelly Jelly!”
- When players have guessed all three digits in the correct order the leader will say “Jelly Jelly Jellybean!”
- Each time they guess, the players should write down their proposed number, along with the leader's response and any special logical deductions, so they can keep track of their reasoning. Here's an example of the results of one game at our house:
What's going on? In order to find the answer, players must call upon a series of math reasoning skills that actually underly success for years to come. They must know how to eliminate numbers, how to place numbers in their correct columns, and how to narrow their choices given new information. As you build math skills, this is a great game to play over and over; it's also lots of plain, old-fashioned fun.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.