Making Math More Fun – Printable Math Board Games Review

sample of printable math board games

Printed Math Board Games


The More Fun with Math Games package is a collection of printable math “board” games, worksheets and activities, provided as a set of downloadable eBooks.

So to make this clear, this product is not software. It is downloadable eBooks, containing printable math board games and activities.

The photo on the left is an example of what the printouts might look like (these are taken mostly from the board games eBook, which has a lot of attractive designs in it). Not all games require to be printed, as some are using playing cards and other means to turn math practice into a game.

The package itself consists of 4 eBooks, as follows:

  1. Card Games – 17 games to be played with playing cards. These are mainly addition and subtraction using number values on a normal deck of playing cards. Most of these games depend on luck more than skill, but you still need to do the math. Also contained are 24 games based on cards that are in the eBook and need to be printed out and then cut.
  2. Printable Math Board Games – 27 games in total (76 pages). Basically you print a page with a (mostly) coloured game board on your printer, and then follow the rules to play the game. Most of the games use one or two dice to move your player according to whatever rules the game has. Some games have accompanying sets of cards that need to be used with the game. For example, the cards might contain a question, such as ‘20% of 50′, and on the board the player must find the correct square to place the card on (ie the square with ’10’ written on it). Most of the time, the complete game rules are written on one page and the printable board(s) are on subsequent pages.
  3. Math Games Ideas – 61 games involving math. These are not board games, but activity games. Think along the lines of bingo or pictionary. The games can be played by 2 or more individual players or groups. You could even hold a math party :-).
  4. Printable Math Games Sheets – 27 games involving sheets that need to be printed out, and then filled in by the players, using colour pencils. A lot of the games require strategy rather than relying of chance, which is nice. The games cover mostly addition, subtraction and simple multiplication.

At the time of writing, the package also includes five bonus eBooks.
They are not related to math itself, and you may as well read about them on their website, since they may change at any time. Except one of them, they are all created by the same author as the four math eBooks.
Two of them are general games for children or classroom, and two are specifically for reading, spelling, phonics and such. (I actually quite like the reading/spelling/word games, and so do our children).
The fifth one is a 109 page book of indoor games for children written by C Squareman.

Printable Math Board Games Evaluation

Lighting race math board game

Lighting Race Math Board Game

This is a very comprehensive collection of games and game ideas that can be realised and played simply and without much effort. Because there are so many games, I cannot review them all individually here, and I believe describing them in detail would possibly violate their copyright, since I would in essence be giving away the game.

So let me say this: The games are suitable for classroom play at school, but also for home schooling and general play at home.
Because there are so many different games, there are bound to be some that you and your child(ren) will enjoy.
When our kids saw the eBooks with all the colourful pages on my computer, they were immediately interested and wanted to play a few.

Each eBook has a brief foreword and separate tips for teachers and parents. The tips are pretty much the same across the four books. They are written without any hype and you can tell the author is genuinely trying to help you get the best out of the games and support your kids.

One tip that I particularly like is: “Stop playing BEFORE the child has had enough.” This is so true and really holds for any activity you want your child to engage in. If we as parents keep pushing our kids beyond their limits, we will end up killing any desire for that activity!

Four in a Row Printable Math Board Game

Four in a Row Math Board Game

The games have easy to understand rules, are very playable and provide a lot of opportunity for your kids to practice math in a fun way. The great thing about them is that there is such a huge selection, so if one game gets boring you can simply pick another one.

I found it best to pre-select a range of games myself first and then go through with my kids and let them pick which one they want to play. That way they feel a lot more in charge and are much more involved.

It’s usually a good idea to sit with them when picking a new game, although older kids (age 8 and up) will have little problem working out the rules for themselves. The games are also great opportunities for spending quality time. Compare this to lecturing your kids about whatever math concept they are trying to learn and you really see how powerful this can be.

Make sure you can print in colour! Many of the printable math board games feature attractive colour designs, making them very attractive for kids. However, some of these designs will not print out all that legibly on a monochrome laser printer.

Strengths

  1. Huge list of games and game ideas, covering comparing numbers, simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but also decimals, fractions, shapes and percentages.
  2. You will find a game for any occasion (even parties, if you’re so inclined)
  3. You will find a game for any skill level, especially early math, up to grade 3.
  4. The printable math board games are simple to set up, and each game has a clear indication of what it practices and for what age group it is.
  5. Some games depend on luck, so even weaker players have a chance of winning.

Weaknesses

  1. It requires your time. If you have only one child, you will need to play with your child. If you have more than one child, you may at least want to check from time to time if they are doing the calculations correctly (a necessity with all printed worksheets, of course).
  2. If you define quality time as something other than playing games with your kids then perhaps this is not for you.
  3. You need to be the judge when it is time to move on to a different game. (This could be either because your child has mastered the skill and should move on, or because the game’s not working for one of you).

Child Test of the Printable Math Board Games package

Comments from our young evaluators:

  • I like these games. They are fun.
  • It’s nice to be able to try so many different games.
  • The card games are boring (there was a little bit of frustration here, because the card games mostly do not require any skill, only luck to win – then again, that was very good for our younger player)

Pricing

At the time of writing the set of eBooks retails for US$27.97.

Verdict

Covers: All Math operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals
Age Group: 5-11
Effectiveness: 4 out of 5 (full of potential, but it depends on you, what games you choose, and how (well and often) you play them.
Learning vs Fiddling: not applicable
Avoids Violence: 5 out of 5 – Okay, you kill trees by printing the game sheets, but no, none of the games involve any kind of violent concepts
Fun Factor: 4 out of 5 – the games are surprisingly fun to play (the fact that you are playing with another person makes a big difference)
Medium: Online Download
Platforms: All, as long as Adobe PDF format (Acrobat Reader) can be viewed and printed.
Price: $27.97 (as at Feb 2010)
Guarantee: Yes, 60 days Money Back Guarantee
Value for Money: 4.5 out of 5 – I give this 4.5 out of 5, because yes, you could probably find similar games for free by searching online, but it would take you a very long time and they tend to be of lower quality, I find. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time with your children? Here someone has gone through the trouble, collected quality games and categorised and arranged all of these nicely for you already. In my mind that’s well worth the price.
Overall:   4 out of 5 (recommended)

 
Visit the More Fun With Math Games website.

A really great supplement to this game collection is a software game called MathRider, for those times when solo play/practice are needed. The MathRider game uses artificial intelligence to have your child practice only what they need to practice and guide them to completely master basic arithmetic (addition to division). For more details check out the MathRider game review.

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