Students of all ages wonder how to get better at math. Improvement means different things for different learners. A multi-step approach is often necessary for students. For this reason, math games, for 1st grade especially, are very beneficial and effective. The hardest part for both parents and teachers is figuring out how to choose the best ones.
Why Choose Games Over Worksheets?
Early math is taught through observation rather than chalk on a blackboard. Before the 1st grade, your child has learned numbers, colors, and shapes through physical examples. These examples may have been with items representing values, such as a group of marbles or other counters. It is also possible that they learned through illustrations, pictures, drawings, or what have you.
Worksheets are generally not as bright or observation-based as the above examples. It only makes sense that they are not as effective as other more hands-on methods. Math games for 1st grade are the perfect way to tie down concepts. They are entertaining, engaging, and continue past physical and observational learning methods. Enjoying the learning process is an understated component of how to get better at math or any subject.
What to Remember and Avoid with Math Games for 1st Grade
When you’re creating, playing, or searching for math games for 1st grade, it’s important to remember a few things. Firstly, exercise patience. Math is a tough subject, regardless of how colorful and fun the activities are. Your child is probably not going to get everything right immediately. It’s going to take them several tries before they have concepts cemented. This is especially so if the game you choose or create includes concepts they are not familiar with yet. Let them take their time.
Answer their questions and help them along if they ask for it, but don’t hand over the answers at the first sign of a struggle. Doing the work for your child will be extremely detrimental in the long run.
Secondly, practice positive reinforcement. Math can be frustrating, as we all know. Your child will have some issues solving problems if they are just starting and don’t fully know how. To get better at math, they don’t need to know that they’re doing a bad job. They need to be gently guided where necessary and congratulated on their successes. In the same vein, avoid math games where the rules involve penalties. Change them around if needed.
Finally, focus on having a good time. Remember that the goal is figuring out how to get better at math, but there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be a whole lot of fun. Don’t be shy with colors and interactive ideas. Play with different prize or reward systems. High-fives are a must! Have a little crafting party and make your own math game with your child. Quiz them as they go along. As the parent, you know what your child enjoys doing better than anyone, so incorporate those things as best you can. Some games may work better than others, so try some new ones if the others get old.
Math Game Ideas
These ideas are meant to be points of inspiration only. They are in no way concrete. You can—and, in fact, you should—change, alter, and recreate them in any way you wish. (If you have an idea of your own that you know will work even better, do that instead!)
Try a classic board game setup. You can use a premade game, repurpose an old game board, or create your own from scratch. Roll a dice to determine how many spaces to move. Use multiple dice for an easy incorporation of addition problems! Have equations written on each space that your child must solve. For a reward idea, have some kind of bonus prepared when your child gives a correct answer. This can be in the form of extra moves, additional points, or other awards.
Try a matching game. Lay out equations and their solutions on cards, and have your child match them up. This can be from a set of flashcards, or a set that you and your child make together. Use these cards for a math-focused game of Go Fish, or a memory game. With cards in mind, the popular card game “War” is an excellent and simple way to teach greater-than and less-than concepts.
This way, you can use a regular deck of cards with no additional preparations required. The numbers are already prepared, and you can take it anywhere with you. Math games using traditional cards are always a plus. Decks of cards are easy to find and transport. Not only that; your child can play the game with other students as well. (This is always a plus for all the social learners out there!)
If you haven’t found the perfect solution for how to get better at math, investigate Argo Prep. Our educational platform has instructional videos and coinciding physical workbooks for an effective and comprehensive learning experience.