STEAM Corner: Math Games Are the Best Games

Photo of Jess Alexander

May 12, 2020

By Jess Alexander

Categories: Kids & Families, STEAM

Welcome back to the STEAM Corner, a blog series featuring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math projects to do at home. Today, we are going to harness our crafting skills to transform home into a paradise of math games.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay STEAM-y.

Want to show off your project? Share your pictures and videos on social media and tag the Library!


 

Game #1: Dice Time!

This DIY multiplication game is easy to make and works as a fantastic boredom buster. Adults: this one is fun with or without the kids.

Materials

  • Dice (4 per player, each set a different color)
  • Paper or Paper grocery bag
  • Markers
  • Round things to trace
  • Thick book
dice game board

Game Board

To make your game board, either tape together a few sheets of paper or dismantle a paper grocery bag to use as a surface. Create a bullseye and extra targets by tracing round things you find at home. Label multipliers as shown. Place a thick book on one end as a dice launching platform.

Note on dice: Make sure each player has a set of 4 matching dice. If you do not have dice in different colors, apply marker until the situation is remedied.

Number of Players: 2+

How to Play

  1. Each player flicks one die off of the launching platform onto the board.
  2. Repeat until all dice are flicked. (Yes, you CAN bump another player’s dice!)
  3. To score the round, multiply the value of each die times the value of its board area. Then add the products.

Play one round or keep a running score over multiple rounds. Highest score wins.

dice game how to play

 

Game #2: Phalanges

This next game requires no materials and no setup. Named for the little bones in your fingers, Phalanges is the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” of math.

Number of Players: 2

How to Play (multiplication version)

  1. Players chant: “Ready, set, phalanges!”
  2. On “phalanges,” each player holds out 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers.
  3. The player who calls out the correct product first wins.

Variations

  • Instead of multiplication, play with addition or subtraction.
  • If players use two hands instead of one (0-10 fingers), the game becomes Super Phalanges. Adjust the chant to match.
  • If you add a third player, the game becomes Triple Phalanges.

Further Reading

If you need more math activities in your life, check out one of these ebooks on Hoopla using your library card:


Jess Alexander is a Youth Services Librarian at Morton Grove Public Library.