Today’s activity is a home-made game I made last year and recently re-discovered while cleaning up the office. It’s a memory game with a math twist. I don’t know if you can buy a game like this (I’ve never seen it but also haven’t looked for it), but it’s easy enough to make from a couple sheets of paper. I used cardstock for increased durability.

You first cut a bunch of cards all the same shape, then proceed to make matched pairs. Instead of exact matches though, write equivalent mathematical statements on each pair.  For example, here are some matches in my version:
Get the idea?  When you have about 10 or more matched pairs, lay the cards our face down in a grid pattern and start playing Memory. If you’re not familiar, all you do is turn over 2 cards at a time and try to find the matched pairs. If you don’t get a match, turn the cards facedown and try again.  At first kids are confused because they’re not sure if they should calculate answers or look for exact matches, but after a few turns they get the idea.

I made 2 versions, an easy set and a more difficult one with more cards. My game was designed for first graders, but you could easily make cards appropriate for any grade level. Even if your kids don’t feel like playing when you first introduce this game, just leave the cards lying on the table and I bet they can’t resist turning a few over when you’re not looking!
The game only takes a few minutes but it makes the kids think on multiple levels, and who can resist a refresher for basic math facts disguised as a game?  For younger kids this is good for practice  reading numbers as well. Best of all it can be played alone or with several players.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this! π

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