Monday, September 25, 2017

Subtraction a little rusty?


A lot of students did not practice their math facts over the summer, and are feeling a little rusty this September. Subtraction practice can be more challenging than addition, so here is a fun way to get the subtraction connections in your brain oiled and ready to go.

Minus Mission  : Keep the alien blobs from overwhelming your base! Kids can adjust the range of numbers they practice, increase or decrease the speed, and work their way up through different levels.

There are lots of other fun math fact games at

Have fun! Kids, challenge your parents to a race on Math Playground!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Travel apps

Travel Apps

Heading out on a long road trip or airplane flight? Here are a couple fun apps to keep the kids busy AND help them learn their math facts.

Tower Math
This strategy game depends on quick math facts as well as analysis of the specific situations. Different levels are available, including some great mental math for larger numbers. You can practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. 
Available for iPad, iPhone , and android devices.

Math Bingo
You can set up a user name for every member of the family. You earn "bugs" by completing a bingo card. The bugs can be used in a couple of games. Again, kids can choose different levels and different operations to practice.
Available for iPad, iPhone , and an online version where you can play free on a laptop or subscribe to get access to a large variety of educational games.

Sunday, February 12, 2017



Cribbage is fun to play and is a great way to practice addition facts, counting by twos, counting by fives, combinations of 15, and other mental addition. Never played cribbage? Well, here are the basics:

Materials needed:
Deck of 52 cards
Cribbage board: You can also just keep score on a piece of paper, 1st person to 121 points is the winner. If you play with a board, encourage your child to use the units of five marked on the board to count their points faster.

How to Play 2-Person Cribbage:
  1. Deal - Dealer gives 6 cards to each player.
  2. Crib - Both the dealer and the non-dealer select 2 cards from their hand and lay them on the table in front of the dealer. This is called the crib. Any points from these cards will be counted for the dealer later in the hand.
  3. Cut - The non-dealer cuts the remaining deck and the dealer flips over the top card after the cut. If the card is a Jack, the dealer scores 2 points. Whatever card is revealed will be used later during the counting the hand part of the game.
  4. The Play - The non-dealer nows lays a card down face up in front of themselves and calls out the value of the card (jack, queens, and kings have a value of 10, aces are one). The dealer then lays a card and adds on the value. For example, non-dealer lays a 4 and says “four” followed by the dealer laying down a 9 and saying “thirteen” because 4 + 9 = 13. The play continues to alternate without going over 31. If a person can’t play without going over 31, they say “Go”. The other player may then continue to lay down cards until they are unable to play without going over 31. (See Pegging Points for scoring info). The cycle of play then starts back at zero with the person who first said “Go” laying down the first card in the new cycle of play.
  5. Pegging Points - Pegging points are scored during The Play based on the chart below:
Cards played (must be in consecutive order during a run up to 31)
Pegging Points
15 count (sum of any combo of cards)
Pair (2 of a kind)
Triple (3 of a kind)
Quadruple (4 of a kind)
Straight of 3 or more cards
1 point per card
31 count exactly
Last card played (without reaching 31)

  1. Counting the hand - Starting with the non-dealer, each player lays their 4 cards face up and along with the “cut” card from step 3, they total up their points. Use the chart below:
Based on cards in hand or crib plus the “cut” card
Points Earned
Each combination of cards that add up to 15
Pair (2 of a kind)
Triple (3 of a kind)
Quadruple (4 of a kind)
Straight of 3 or more cards
1 point per card
4 card flush (all cards in hand or crib are same suit)
5 card flush (hand plus “cut” card)
Jack in hand or crib is same suit as “cut” card)

  1. Counting the crib - After the dealer counts their hand, they get to use the 4 cards from the crib combined with the “cut” card to total up more points using the same chart as in step 6.
  2. Winner - The first person to reach 121 points is declared the winner, even if the other person has not had a chance to count their hand or their crib. That is why the order for counting the hands must always start with the non-dealer.
  3. Other notes - Encourage a specific counting style in cribbage. For example, if a hand has a 4, 5, 5, 6, J the counting would sound like this 15 two, 15 four, 15 six, 15 eight, pair makes ten, run of 3 makes thirteen, and run of 3 makes sixteen. (If you have trouble seeing where the points came from here is a summary: 4+5+6= 2 points and you can do this 2 different ways, 5+J= 2 points and you can do this 2 different ways, the pair of fives adds 2 points, and finally 4-5-6 is a straight worth 3 points and you can do this 2 different ways).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monstrer Multiplication

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I recently rechecked my student’s math fact speed, and I was so impressed by their improvement since September. A big reason they have improved is the fun they have been having on

Since the 2nd graders are diving into multiplication, I am highlighting a great suggestion for them to practice their multiplication facts called Math Monsters Multiplication

The student can select the specific multiplication facts they need to practice. The 2nd graders are starting with 2, 5, and 10. Then they will move into 3 and 4. The 3rd graders work on 6, 7, 8, and 9. So practice, practice, practice!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Baseball Fun

Baseball & Math

Baseball and math have always been closely tied. Whether you are counting runs, calculating batting averages, or figuring out a pitcher’s earned run average, you are doing math. Spend some time talking about baseball or other sport statistics with your little fan.

Another way for baseball fans to play with numbers and play some virtual baseball is to visit and play Math Baseball. Your child can choose to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. They can select from 4 different difficulty levels: easy, medium, hard, or super brain. If they answer a question correctly their team will earn a single, double, triple, and home run. The correct answers will move the players around the bases and score runs.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Make Ten Card Game

Make Ten Card Game

This is a great way to help your 1st grader (or older) improve their speed at finding number combinations that add up to 10 (or higher in the advanced variations). Carry a set of the cards with you, because this is a great game to play in restaurants, doctor's offices, and other places where kids get bored.

Target Age:  1st grade for the basic version, 2nd grade and up for the variations

Materials:  Deck of cards with face cards and tens removed.

How to Play:
  1. Deal a 3 x 3 grid of cards face up.
  2. Have your child look for a combination of 2 cards that add up to ten.
  3. The child can then remove the cards and the missing spots should have new cards placed face up from the remaining deck.
  4. Whenever there are no combinations of 10, pick up all the cards, reshuffle, and deal out 9 new cards face up.

Variations (from easiest to most advanced):

  1. Add the tens back into the deck and have your child find combinations that add up to 11.
  2. Add the face cards into the deck and assign them values (jack = 11, queen = 12, king = 13) and have the child find combinations to 12, 13, or 14.
  3. Tell the child they can use more than 2 cards to add up to the target number.
  4. You can even turn it into a multiplication game. Be creative!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween Fun

Visit this great blog for a fun Halloween addition and subtraction practice game that you can play as a family. This activity is 2nd grade homework for Wednesday October 26, 2016, but it is fun to play anytime for lots of ages.