I know that playing ensures kids truly learn a subject. Between that and hands-on learning, your kids will truly master a subject. That is why I tried my best to have lots and lots of games in my house for gameschooling, and why I tried to create lots of hands-on learning opportunities. I’ve been great at doing this for history, reading, and science, but I’m not good at finding or creating math games. It’s an area I wish I’d done better at, and now I can give you something to make sure you don’t miss out on amazing printable math games like I did.
(This post is sponsored by Beast Academy, all opinions are my own)
What is Beast Academy Playground?
I’m glad you asked. Beast Academy Playground is this amazing website with hundreds of quick printable math games and activities that you can print off or just do with what is probably already in your house to play with math.
That’s right, your child is playing with math.
Now, I went there and clicked on the 11+ filter.
Then I added the abstract games filter and noticed something.
It still had a lot of activities listed for young kids.
I scoffed at it, and then our power went out and I wanted a fun quick challenge to use entertain the boys for a few minutes.
Yes, even when they’re teens they start looking at you to entertain them.
I could get on the internet if I got off of wi-fi, so I headed over to Beast Academy Playground and found an interesting challenge.
The Map Color Challenge
Officially this game is called Cartographer, and I only scratched the surface. I just saw it and thought, “That looks like a good challenge,” and didn’t finish reading their directions.
I clicked on the link in there to find a map of the United States and reconnected the wi-fi to print it, and then turned the wi-fi off to start wandering around the site some more.
I headed upstairs and grabbed my bucket of markers and plopped them down on the table saying, “What is the smallest number of colors you can use to color this map of the United States?”
They all looked at the map and then at me and grabbed a marker while making fun of me.
Even Jeff got in on the challenge. What interested me is to see how each of us started on this.
- Superman started in the northeast and very quickly got to several different colors (I won’t tell you in case you decide to try the challenge, though the answer is in the rules).
- Batman started in the southeast, I think, and proceeded from there.
- I started right smack in the middle with Kansas, figuring that would be the area most likely to run into problems, so why not start there.
- By contract, Jeff started on the West coast, but he went through with one color and used that color for every state he could that wasn’t touching, and then he STOLE one of my colors. STOLE I say, after the short squabble I regained my marker and he did not admit he was wrong.
What’s great about this printable math game, is you could use it with 4-year-olds like they say, but it was also a challenge that had my husband who is definitely older than 4 intrigued as he worked out how to best do this.
We finished that, and I flipped over my paper and started on the next idea:
Fruit Flies, a fun math game
This isn’t a printable math game, this could literally be done with a piece of paper and a few markers. You need 1 color to draw your game board (a bunch of grapes), then each person needs their own color.
To start you each pick a grape your fly is going to consume, and once you have both picked your grapes, you “consume” the grape by coloring it in, and then pick your next move.
Very quickly as I played it with Batman he caught on to the idea that it’s an area control game, which can be a lot of fun to play, rather like the Penguin fish game Jeff gave me a few years ago (I can’t find the review offhand, I’ll have to go and find it later).
The one problem we ran into, if the other player forgets to draw their dot for the next turn, it really messes up the game because they will make two moves in response to your one move.
So again, I could totally play this game with my 6-year-old niece, and my 16-year-old son. Both would enjoy it, and it would actually work to entertain them.
What I wish I would have been able to use Beast Academy Playground for earlier
I don’t know if this has been around for years and I’m just now finding it, but I really wish I’d found this site earlier. It’s got all of those amazing games you can quickly play with your kids without getting on the computer, and in particular, I’m thinking this could be great at restaurants.
You know how restaurants have kids’ menus with printed games on them. If you keep a small notebook with you and a small pack of crayons or markers, you could keep them entertained and sneakily learning for hours.
I’d use Towers with my 3-year-old niece (she’s young for it, and would love when towers fall over).
Man, the more I dig into this site, the more cool ideas I find, going from the Towers page, I clicked on their Number Deck page, and it got me thinking of all the games you could play with that deck:
- Go Fish
- Making books (there are four different “suits”)
- active games (do [number card] push-ups)
Oh man, I was just looking around some more and there are all sorts of cool games on there for the Number Deck, that I never even thought of. I just read a game called Memory: Ten Apart. This is perfect for my niece right now, who’s learning addition and subtraction.
But, back to how I’m going to use these math games
While, I thought it was going to be printable math games because that’s what I saw at first, but in reality, it’s just math games and playing with numbers.
Obviously, at this point, my kids don’t need to learn how to add and subtract.
Higher-level math is all about thinking logically and working through puzzles, and that is where Beast Academy Playground shines.
I mean, yeah it’s number stuff, and shape stuff, and so on are amazing, but that’s not what my kids need.
I plan to incorporate their logic puzzles and math games into our D&D sessions. I’m running a campaign for The Artist and her friends, and we have a dungeon coming up in the next session, it could be fun to use the Fox and Hare math game. When they get the two pieces to match, it will unlock the next piece to their astral compass.
I might have them play Carronade the next time their ships are sailing.
I don’t know how I’ll work Towers in, maybe I’ll just have them build because that looks fun.
Oops, I forgot one more picture I liked.