Math Fact Islands

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Every single day I see the words “practice math facts” in my 2nd grader’s planner. In fact, I also saw that every single day when she was in 1st grade. Do you see that too? It’s a hard task, and it’s definitely not something we do on a daily basis. After all, the last thing my daughter wants to do after a full day at school is come home and get drilled with flash cards. We did a lot of car drills with the easier facts (car drills = me calling out problems while on a car trip and she would try to answer as fast as she could). But now, I’m trying to come up with ways to practice her math facts and have a little fun at the same time.


One way to add a little fun to our math fact drills was to add movement. If you’ve got a child that is a kinesthetic learner (one who learns best through movement), take note. They’ll love this and so will any child desperate to move after a long day at school.
To make the game, I took a pile of craft foam circles and wrote an addition problem one side. I then flipped it over and wrote the answer. We were working on our doubles +1 facts (5+6, 7+8, 8+9, etc.), but you can play this game with any set of math facts. I used the craft foam for durability, but you can use paper circles or even paper plates instead.
We scattered the islands on the floor, math problem side up. My daughter jumped from island to island and called out the answer when she landed on it. We did it several times because it was just so much fun. To add a little challenge to the game, we flipped all the islands over and she had to give me the math problem that matched the answer.
You can play a different version of this game using a coin or other small item that you can toss. In this version, she would toss the item and try to get it to land on the island. Then, she had to say the answer to the problem. We enjoyed the jumping version of the game better, but I wanted to share this version because your child is different and may very well enjoy this version better.
If the idea of practicing math facts with your child makes you groan, try this version. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even notice how much they’re practicing. Plus, you won’t have to listing to any complaining!

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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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