Parent-Edge Magazine Articles by me

The Numbers Magician Part 2: Teaching Children Maths Skills through Board Games

This is a re-post of Oct 28-2015 article from ParentEdge magazine.


The Numbers Magician: Teaching Children Maths Skills through Board Games, Part 2

Last month we learnt about introducing ‘Singapore Math’ and ‘Hands-on Math’ concepts to toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners (Age 2 to 6 primarily).

Today we shall explore some excellent board games for ages 3/4 to 8 years that teach kids geometry and algebra while also being fun. The games and books I mention here are just a few examples to explore from an array of options available in the market today. My daughter has played all these games, and hence I can assure you of their usefulness from my own experience.

GAME: 123’s

Age 3+

Game 1

If your child has a good understanding of numbers from a young age, you can introduce this fun card-game. Kids are required to match the numbered card with the equivalent picture card. Numbers go up to 15. You can also play ‘memory’ or ‘treasure hunt’ with these cards. Better still, carry them in your purse while travelling long or short distances and play even while you are waiting for traffic to clear!

GAME: Ludo

Age: 4+


Ludo is a traditional and popular game. Kids learn to roll and read the dice, and count the number of spaces to play and move. They learn to follow a certain direction for their player to move forward. Directions like these help us understand the physical world of math around us.

GAME: Crystal Climbers

Age: 3+

Game 3

This is a wonderful geometrical game. There are different shaped crystals made from plastic. Kids much match pieces to each other to make numerous designs or objects. This game improves gross motor movements and eye-brain co-ordination as well. You can teach children, in a hands-on way, about 3-dimensional shapes like cube and 2-dimensional shapes like circle and triangle.

Crystal climbers

GAME: Cash Register

Age: 3+

cash register

The Cash Register is an addictive toy for many kids. They fancy being able to scan items and collect money especially if they repeatedly ‘witness’ their parents paying the cashier at different shops. Younger kids may tear the paper notes or swallow coins. You can laminate paper notes and keep the coins away until age 5.

The register can be used to ‘simulate’ a shopping experience. Let your children set up a soft-toy shop and you can go buy something from there. Allow them to do a simple transaction. Teach them to scan, open and close the cash box. As they grow older, you can teach them about currency and do several types of money transactions which involve addition, subtraction, etc.

(E.g.I have Rs. 20, if I have to pay you Rs. 10, how much will you return?)

The same currency can be used to make rows of ascending and descending notes. You can also make this experience more real by having your child pay real money at the billing center and also shop something for themselves and pay from their piggy bank or pocket money.

GAME: The Mighty Mind

Age: 4/5+ 

The Mighty Mind gives excellent exposure to geometrical thinking. There are different shapes that are used to make simp

Mighty Mindle to complex designs. Beginning cards show kids which pieces they will need to use to make a shape. As you can see in the circle shape in the image, the card shows two red semi-circle pieces to be used. The cards are numbered and increasing numbers depict higher level of difficulty in making shapes. The same shapes are also available in magnetic form with a magnetic board and kids can use the shapes freely as well, to make any pattern they wish.

GAME: Dominoes

Age: 5+ 

DominosDominos and The Mexican Train are great ‘algebra’ games. The coins represent numbers by the number of dots on them. Players must match same number dots together to form connected series. You can also challenge kids to quickly state the number of dots on each peg. Or ask them to match the number on a dice.

Domonies 2

GAME: monopoly

Age: 5+ 

From 5 years onwards, kids can start playing Junior or Regular Monopoly based on their abilities. Monopoly has a ‘real’ time smonopolyense to how transactions occur in the world. This helps kids get a great understanding on the use of money and numbers in the real world. You need not stick to the rules of the games or the length of the game. The purpose is to expose them to number understanding.

Lastly, I would like to share with you this wonderful book which teaches kids to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s in a simple, easy and fun way. There many sites, books and resources which we can use to teach math concepts to our kids.


I hope you received some fun math ideas for your kids today.


One thought on “The Numbers Magician Part 2: Teaching Children Maths Skills through Board Games

  1. Pingback: The Numbers Magician: Teaching Children Math Skills, Part 1 | Rima Desai's: Scuba Diving into the Mind's Pool

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