Activities for children who love (or hate) math
There are some children who love everything about math and numbers! Look at Katherine Johnson, former NASA mathematician, who earned the title The Girl Who Loved to Count because she counted everything she could since she was little. Whether your child is another Katherine Johnson or not as big of a numbers lover, there are a couple activities every child is sure to enjoy.
These games ask for your child to exercise their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, but in such a way as to make it enjoyable for everyone! After trying these activities, they might stop saying, “I’m not good at math,” and start saying, “Math is fun!”
A popular numbers game, Sudoku asks that each box, vertical line, and horizontal line of 9 squares each consists of the numbers 1 to 9 in any order. Each number will be used once, and there are a variety of levels so this task can go from relaxing to challenging based on your child’s mood and level of critical thinking. Sudoku asks your child to use their logic skills to see how this number puzzle fits together. What strategies will they discover?
You can find printables here!
Also known as Paint by Numbers, Nonograms provide you with a grid. Each
row and column has numbers that tell you how many boxes in a row should be shaded. For example, if one row has the numbers 2 and 8, that would mean that anywhere in that row, there should be 2 shaded boxes in a row followed later by 8 shaded boxes in a row. It is the same for columns, usually resulting in one complete picture like pixel art. Your child will have to think of strategies to get to that end result!
You can find printables here!
Another logic puzzle, Hidato asks your child to connect consecutive numbers from 1 to however many spaces are provided. The board can take any shape or form, but fills in a few of the boxes with numbers. Then, much like connecting the dots, your child fills in the empty spaces with consecutive numbers to get to the next one. For example, Hidato may start with 1 and the next number given in another space is 5, so your child has to fill in the boxes from 2 to 4 until they reach that 5. Your child has to make sure they fill in the right boxes, and this could involve some trial and error.
You can play Hidato here!
2048 is a popular game online! It requires your child to slide around boxes that, upon collision, will add up if they are the same number. For example, if you collide an 8 with another 8, that will add up to 16, which has to collide with another 16 to get to 32, and so on. The end game is to get to the number 2048 without filling up the space with unusable boxes. There is limited room for movement for sliding and colliding, so your child has to test out the best way to get to 2048!
You can play 2048 here!
A little more complex, Kakuro can test out your child’s adding skills! The purpose is to fill in the grids so two numbers in a row or column add up to whatever the number outside of the grids dictates. For example, if the row wants the sum of 24, that means the two numbers in the row have to add up to 24, and if the column wants the sum of 12, the two numbers in that column need to add up to 12. This means that one of those numbers will have to add up to both 24 and 12. This one will be a bit more math heavy!
You can play Kakuro here!
Whether your child loves or hates numbers, these logic puzzles are so fun and engaging that everyone will put on their thinking caps and have a great time! If your child struggles with some levels or wants to keep advancing, they should continue working on their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. JEI Learning Center can help! We have a program, Brain Safari, that specializes specifically in this area. It uses word problems, math, and puzzles to engage your child’s creative mind and logical thinking, so they can excel at whatever they set their mind on.