I’m on a constant search for ways to make math fun and a natural part of the day for my kiddos.
Though she has made great strides in learning her basic facts (thanks to those uber cute mini-math fact cards), she still needs a lot of work to get to the point where the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts come quickly and correctly.
So when both Maddy and Owen came home with only a little (Maddy) and no (Owen) homework this week, I decided that it would be wise to do some serious math practice with them both. But I wanted this activity to be new, different, and fun, so I thought outside the box a bit and merged one of our favorite games–Bingo!– with a new-ish focus: math facts.
It was a happy union, and it actually made my kiddos so happy that they’ve requested we play it for the last three days. Woot!
Here’s the skinny:
- Math Bingo: I had created some blank bingo boards a few weeks back which we have been using in totally cool ways lately during homework time (cannot wait to share!), so I grabbed a 4 x 4 board for Maddy, Owen, and myself, we got rolling.
You can use whichever blank bingo board works best for your little learners. In this file, there are 2- 3 x 3 boards; 1- 4 x 4 board; 1- 5 x 5 board.
Owen was ready to go, and here he chose 5-2=3 vs 5+2=7 so he could cover the 3 on his board.
I said, Okay, you guys, this is going to be so totally cool–I know you’ll be so excited about this once we start playing. We’re each going to take a blank board, and we’re going to write any number we want inside each of the boxes. Write any number from 1 – 12. You can write the same number a few times; it doesn’t matter.
(Please note: I should have said write 0 – 12, but I didn’t. We realized this halfway through the game.)
They’re getting the hang of it, and all Owen needs is a 1 or a 5 for Bingo!
They were pretty game for this because (I think) they could tell I was unusually excited myself. It was a math game! I made it up on the fly! It involved sneaky math-fact practice! It was bingo! I am still excited about it!
We’re going to play bingo with these boards that we just created–but it’s going to be Math Bingo with a twist! Grab a handful of bingo markers and get your brain ready to go.
And then I found a set of dice, and I rolled them on the table.
Okay, what numbers did I roll?
Owen said, A five and a three.
You got it. A five and a three. We are going to use these numbers to figure out if we can cover up one of the boxes on our boards–and here’s how. What do I get if I add five and three? (They said ‘eight’.) Yes, five plus three equals eight. What number do I get if I subtract three from five? (They said ‘two’). Yes! Five minus three equals two.
So the numbers I can cover on my board for this roll would be EITHER eight or two. I get to choose, depending on which part of the board I want to cover–or which line I want to fill in order to make ‘bingo’. Does that make sense? HOW cool is that? It’s like make-your-own-bingo kind of, right?
Before I finished speaking, I had rolled and Maddy and Owen called out the numbers that they could cover. My only rule was that no one called out the answers immediately–because I didn’t want it to be high-stress; I wanted it to be fun.
The wait-time was tough for my math-guy, but he reluctantly complied as the game went on. We played for straight winners at first, but they didn’t want to stop, so we played full-board.
Maddy and Owen loved this Math Bing0 — a math masterpiece!
Do you want to download the bingo boards?
It was cool. I think both Maddy and Owen liked the wonder and flexibility of the game:
- What would they be doing with numbers they wrote on their board?
- Which numbers would they want to write? Would one number be better than another?
- Would it make sense to write the same number twice?
- And once the dice were rolled, Add or subtract? Where to place he bingo marker?
And I love this game because there are a ton of possibilities for extension or a shift of focus:
- use only addition OR subtraction;
- use multiplication or division;
- use only certain numbers on the board;
- roll the die in order to create the board (to practice counting for younger kiddos) and kids choose where to put each number;
- use numerals on the board and flip number word cards — kids practice reading the word and matching it to the correct numeral;
- use number stickers (for little guys) and roll the die to practice counting;
for a literacy focus. . .
- use letters (letters of first and last name or another alphabet focus) and flip the matching letter card;
- use letter stickers or write the letters;
- put letters on the board and flip picture cards — cover the letter that begins the word on the card for phonological awareness support;
- match upper and lowercase letters (like alphabingo).
And this is just a start; the opportunities for fun sneaky learning are extensive, and like I said, I cannot wait to share how we’ve been using the blank bingo boards over here! Of course, I’d LOVE to hear your ideas–please do share!
Again, here are the Blank Bingo Boards: 2- 3 x 3 boards; 1- 4 x 4 board; 1- 5 x 5 board.
Laughing Yoga Mama
Love this idea!! I’m curious how you would use it for multiplication though? That doesn’t seem as straight forward with what numbers to put on the board. Thanks!
thanks so much–and you are SO correct. You probably can’t do it w/ multiplication and division–or maybe you can. . . I am not a numbers person so I don’t know. Thoughts?
Get a patent from the Library of Congress for this game…instantly. It’s a great idea and there will be a game company who will buy this from you.
Ha ha! Love it! Had the same thought last week to practice b’s multiplication facts! Then what did she cone home from school with–math connect four!!! Same idea with a twist–you roll two dice then ADD the numbers together, then multiply by a given number ( she had three or four). The only caveat is you have to premake your board with the multiples of the number you are multiplying. Players take turns, use the same board and first to get four in a row wins! We had fun!
Dana! Super idea!! I love that extension–and I know that my kiddo could use the multiplication help–thanks so much!!
Oh my, DIY math bingo is just what I need! I’m so glad I found your site. My homeschooler has got a major case of I-Dont-Wanna-Do-Math these days.