11 Great Ways to Help Your Child Practice Math Facts
1st grade is a big year for kids. They start losing teeth. They begin to get pretty awesome at reading. And they start memorizing math facts.
For some kids this latter milestone is just a tiny blip on the 1st grade map. For others, it’s more like a mountain that seems impassable.
So far we’ve experienced both kinds, and I’m alive to say that the math facts can indeed be mastered without too many tears. For some kids it just takes a bit of creativity to help make memorizing math facts fun.
These are the real deal tools that have helped us as we walked the tightrope of insisting on perseverance in learning, as well as making it fun and not-so-serious.
For the kid who likes to color, this can be really fun! Choose your child’s picture interest (minecraft? princesses? disney?) and appropriate level of difficulty. Then print out the sheet, and they can use the coloring key to decode the picture.
2. IXL (for computer or iPad), $9.99/month
IXL is a great subscription for families who are serious about getting math practice in. For each child’s account, you can choose very specific math topics to practice that are based on common core standards for each grade. I love this because this tells me exactly what my child needs to know to stay on-target for each grade level. These are not games, but instead are the equivalent of math worksheets for the computer :). Kids get “stickers” and also are emailed certificates when they reach various goals.
It seems like everyone has some favorite version of Sequence (the original, animals, ABCs). And since we like the original Sequence, we thought we’d give this a whirl and it was a great way to have fun while doing some mental math. The equation is on the card and the answers are on the board. Like the traditional game, the first person to get 2 sets of 5 in a row wins. As a little extra help, each equation there is some color-coding that helps you to narrow down the answer :).
4. Sushi Math (for iPad), free
Created by Scholastic, this free app challenges kids to build the correct combination of sushi plates to feed to the hungry sushi monster. It focuses on addition and multiplication, and the challenge rises pretty quickly with each new level. I wondered if this would intimidate my kiddos, but they were fine with it. They stopped where they felt like the numbers were too big, and went back to practice on the lower levels.
5. Mathmateer (for iPad), free
Answer math problems to earn money, which buys you parts to build a rocket ship. This is an app that the kids can play during the week (we have a 30 minute “educational only” screen time policy at our house during the week), but it’s not necessarily a math fact drilling game. It’s a fun way for kids to be rewarded with play time after doing some math problems.
6. Sidewalk Math
Write some numbers on the sidewalk with chalk, and then call out math problems. Your child has to run as fast as they can to the correct answer. Some kids need to get moving in order to make those brain connections!
7. Pet Bingo (for iPad), $2.99
I think this app was the one that helped the most. Kids are asked a series of math facts (addition, subtraction) and are trying to get a BINGO with the answers. When the child gets Bingo enough times in a row, they win a cute little pet (and food for the pet along the way). When they want to take a break from math fact practice, they can go into their little pet land and name and feed their pets.
If the Spot-It game had babies with addition flashcards, this would be their super genius child.
9. Go Fish: Sums of 10 version
Use a regular ‘ol deck of playing cards and take out all of the Kings, Queens and Jacks. Now play Go Fish, but instead of trying to get matching cards, try to get a set of 2 cards that add up to 10. The person with the greatest number of sets at the end of the game, wins!
10. Number Ninjas
The goal of this game is to successfully complete 4 Ninja quests and then race to get the golden dragon. There are 2 levels of playing, those who are ninja beginners (and do addition and subtraction) and masters (multiplication). Both beginners and masters can play against each other, making it a good game for siblings as well.
Offer a celebration meal or treat after they reach a certain goal. Sometimes a mommas gotta do what a mommas gotta do. 😉