Hello <<First Name>>,

How is your family enjoying the spring? As homeschoolers, my family doesn't bother taking "snow days" off for wintery weather because we'd rather have the freedom to play hooky in the spring. Sometimes we take a blanket outside and read our school books there, but usually we set all the work aside and just enjoy the nice weather.

This month, my brain is full of the Math You Can Play number game books, so I followed that theme and found some yummy math games to share. I hope you and your children enjoy them.

Best wishes!

Math Snack: Two Math Games

Playful, no-preparation math activities for all ages

Math games pump up mental muscle, reduce the fear of failure, and develop a positive attitude toward mathematics. Through playful interaction, games strengthen a child’s intuitive understanding of numbers and build problem-solving strategies. Mastering a math game can be hard work, but kids do it willingly because it is fun.

The easiest no-prep strategy game for all ages is the finger game Chopsticks. You don't need any equipment, so it's a great game to keep in mind for when you and your kids are stuck in a line or waiting room. Math concepts: counting up to five, thinking ahead.

And one of my all-time favorite games is Nim, a subtraction strategy game that can be played just about anywhere. At a restaurant, play it with sugar packets or marks on the place mat while waiting for your food to come. On a car trip, play it in your imagination, by picturing a pile of stones and saying aloud how many you are taking on your turn. Math concepts: logic, patterns, divisibility.

One of the most flexible games in the world, Nim is a great way for kids to create their own math. Encourage children to make up variations: change the total number of stones or the number taken in each turn, or invent a situation where the players are claiming territory, building or tearing apart property, sharing out pirate gold without getting the "cursed" doubloon, and so on. Try making a game board to reflect the setting of a favorite story, as I did with Alexandria Jones and the Secret of the Pharaoh's Treasure.

For more Nimspiration, take a look at Sherron Pfeiffer's Creating NIM Games book. It appears to be out of print, but your library may have it, or there are used copies available at reasonable prices.

Have fun at the math carnival

Every month, the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival‌ offers a smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college. Check it out:

Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) Blog Carnival #85

More Tasty Tidbits

A few of my favorite math games around the Web

Rosie posts helpful videos on elementary math at Education Unboxed. I love this "seriously embarrassing" game her daughters invented for naming fractions with Cuisenaire rods: Princess in the Dungeon, Part 1 and Part 2.

In the free math game app Wuzzit Trouble, you must rescue cute critters from traps inside the castle by solving puzzles that involve arithmetical and algebraic thinking, strategic planning, and a good dose of ingenuity.

John Golden's Math Hombre blog is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in math games. In Power Up, students create their own superheroes and do battle to practice exponent calculations.

Kate Nowak created Logarithm War, and then Jim Pai extended the game to include trig functions. Double the cards, double the fun!

I could get lost in Alexander Bogomolny's Cut the Knot website and live there happily, learning new stuff every day. Explore his Games, Puzzles and Activities collection of mathy recreations for all ages.

Math Game: Thirty-One

Math Concepts: addition to thirty-one, thinking ahead.
Players: best for two.
Equipment: one deck of math cards.

Here's a math strategy game (and puzzle) from H. E. Dudeney's classic The Canterbury Puzzles and featured in my Addition & Subtraction ebook.

Blog and Book Updates

A quick peek at what I'm working on

I've been sadly neglecting my blog for months, as I worked my books toward publication and also edited my daughter's new fantasy novel. Now the first Math You Can Play ebooks are out, and the novel is in the final stages of formatting.

My next step will be creating the paperback editions. I had hoped to have them done before vacation, but time is running out, and I promised Teresa I'd get her book published this month. [I'm flying to Korea to visit my daughter, woohoo! —‌ but that means I may miss a few deadlines. I will probably be too busy "touristing" to send out a Math Snacks newsletter in June. Sorry!]

If you picked up a copy of Counting & Number Bonds or Addition & Subtraction during the initial discount sale, would you please consider writing a review for the book? Just a few lines would be great. An honest review is the highest compliment you can pay to an author, and your comments help fellow readers discover good books. Thank you!

And that's all I have for now. I hope you found something interesting or useful. See you next month, or maybe in July...
"Let's Play Math" blog
"Let's Play Math" blog
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