Use this fun and lively guessing game as a way to help reinforce number concepts while keeping your child entertained. It’s perfect to play during restaurant waits, car rides, or anytime you have a few extra minutes to kill. In the grand tradition of “I Spy,” “Twenty Questions” and the other guessing games you may vaguely recall from your childhood, this is a do-it-anywhere, no-equipment-required diversion.
What You Do:
- Think of a number from 0- 10. Tell your child she'll have ten guesses to figure it out.
- As she makes guesses, you'll give “higher” and “lower” responses to help steer your child to the unknown number. A typical game might go like this: Parent: I'm thinking of a number between 0 and 30. Child: Is it 20? Parent: No, lower. Child: Is it 10? Parent: No, higher. So now we know it's between 10 and 20....Like that, with encouragement until your child lands on target.
- As your child's ability and confidence grow, change roles so that you're the one guessing the number and your child gives the clues.
- Eventually, increase the range of numbers to 0-50, or change the range to start with a higher number, such as 30-50.
Kids will likely focus on the fun of the guessing, and the added delight of tricking mom or dad with clues. But they're also learning a key preschool math concept: how to compare, describe, and order numbers by more or less. If the game is too hard at first, you can give extra support by jotting down a quick number line for your son to reference when he needs a hint. If it's too easy, you can limit the number of guesses your child can make, or challenge her to guess the number within a certain time frame.
Samantha Harpring was a classroom teacher for 16 years and has spent the last several years writing curriculum. She is the mother of two energetic boys, ages 7 and 10.