My son is a big fan of games, so we make a lot of math board games. I have a wonderful book called Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. I first became aware of this book from the Rudolf Steiner Library in New York. It is a fabulous book!
My son still seems to struggle with columnar adding and subtracting, so we have stepped back to review place value. The game Group Ten really seems to be helping.
This is a game in progress. The little orange jewels are worth 1, and the blue jewels are worth 10. The goal is to be the first to get the big gold beeswax coin, which is worth 100. We each turn over a card (a regular deck with J, Q, K removed) and receive that many orange jewels. Once you have 10 orange jewels, you can exchange for a blue one. In the game above, I have 24 points, and my opponent has 33 points.
This raggedy old game is called Fast Track, and it comes from Games for Math as well. I have thought about making a new beautiful game, but I cannot because this one holds sentimental value. A couple of years ago when my mom was having some health problems and my children and I were caring for her, she and my daughter made this game in mom’s bed. Now I play it with my second grade son. We have played it dozens of times, and he has not tired of it at all! The squares on the board are marked START, WIN, GO 4, BACK 2, DOUBLE MOVE, STAY PUT, and so on. My mom even thought of adding a little flair of her own, with spaces such as SING DO, SING DA, CLAP FEET, and such. You can really have a lot of fun with this. There are 3 places on the board that are marked START, and 3 that are marked WIN. We usually play ‘tournament’ style, having a grand champion of the day… maybe best of 3 or 5… whenever it feels like it is getting old.
I must say that my daughter is not a huge fan of competitive games, so we did not use these too often. She tends too feel bad for the loser, whether it is me or her! I try to alter the games to make them cooperative for her, or she can donate her winnings to me or her brother, if she likes. My son does not seem to have any problems with competitive games, and it seems to be a positive experience for him to practice winning and losing gracefully.