The matchstick math activity we did last week for tabletop surprises was a real hit.
I had an inkling that the activity would be a favorite of Owen’s but really all of the kids were into it.
And when we didn’t bump the table, making the matchsticks fall all out of place and go everywhere, it was all good.
It was super-simple, and I thank the good folks who write Matchstick Puzzles blog for their ideas.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Really, I had heard about matchstick math years and years ago but never really tried it with my kids.
And the idea is simple: you have a simple challenge to complete with matchsticks. Move two to create a totally different object. Add three to completely remake a design.
Fun. And easy. But it’s not really that easy at all.
And when I stumbled upon this awesome matchstick math blog while planning our tabletop surprises calendar this summer, I like totally hit the jackpot.
All I did was make an easy printable for me which included three things:
- the before design
- the challenge
- the answer to the puzzle
Then, like all of the tabletop surprises every day, I set the matchstick patterns out on the table and let. It. Go.
So yes, you need matchsticks to do this.
And then throughout the day, the kids hit the table when they felt inclined. When they were interested. It was great.
The printable includes six of the millions and millions of matchstick puzzles I found on the site, so if you really love them and want more, head on over. Really, what I have here is a fraction–and I mean fraction–of what they have going on over there.
They’re matchstick cray-cray.
But here’s the thing: if matchsticks make you nervous, DON’T. USE. MATCHSTICKS.
For real. You can totally get the same thing going on with these matchstick puzzles if you use something other than matchsticks.
- craft sticks
- pipe cleaners (cut them in quarters!)
- Q-tips (cut them in half and you basically have white soft matchsticks!)
- real sticks from outside (have your kids hunt for them!)
- strips of construction paper
The possibilities are endless.
Please don’t allow your fear–or aversion–to matches turn you away from this activity.
It really is cool, and it really does get your kids’ brains and bodies moving.
It’s quiet. It’s critical thinking. It can be a group or partner activity, and it’s a great way to pass time in restaurants if you need a little something unplugged to do.
If you’d like to download the document: matchstick math teachmama.com
Please, if you choose to share–which we hope you do!–please share this post instead of the printable. Thank you!
What do you think? Cool?
I’d love to hear what you think!
And definitely do check out the awesome matchstick bloggy blog where all the puzzles can be found. Without that site, there’d be no matchstick math for us!
And so was I.
Follow us on Instagram: @teachmama1 / #tabletopsurprises
Want a little more math fun?
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Or follow our rockin math pinterest board:
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