For those of you who are looking for ways to play together and build mathematical thinking and skills at the same time, consider this simple hopscotch game. You’ll need sidewalk chalk and a small stone. Children can play alone or in partners.
Go outside. Draw a large square on the pavement. Divide the square into at least 9 smaller squares, as shown below. This is called a matrix.
In each of the smaller squares record a number from 1 to 9. You can put them in any order. Now take a small stone and toss it onto the matrix. This is your starting square. From here, you must jump to the number that adds to give you 10.
In the game below, a child has thrown a stone onto the number 8. She stands on the number 8 then and has to jump to get to the number 2 — the missing part to get to 10.
If there’s another child nearby, they should record the equation that matches the jump. (8 + 2 = 10)
Player 2 (if there is one) takes his turn, throwing a stone and jumping from that number to the missing part to make ten. Player A records the equation.
The first player to hop on all the combinations is the winner. (And yes, landing on a 5 gets you a double jump!)
If you’re stuck inside, make the matrix on a sheet of paper and toss coins — or even Cheerios! — instead of jumping from number to number. Toss the first coin, say the number you’ve landed on, then say what the missing part is to get to the desired sum.
Of course you can change the numbers to suit the age and stage of the players…
Consider a double-digit version (Get to 100!) or even a decimal version (Get to 5.0!). The sky’s the limit. I’ve included line masters for each of these games — and a blank grid, too — for you to use as inspiration.
Have fun… stay safe…