Q:

My children enjoyed all the challenging math problems that you had in the column one summer. Now I am wondering if you know of any math games that my children and I could play together? - Fun With Math

A:

There are a number of classic board games like Monopoly, Yahtzee and Number Scrabble that involve considerable math. Our all-time favorite is the version of Dominoes in which players try to find multiples of 5. This game really builds addition and multiplication skills. Besides playing it by the rules, it can be played using multiples of other numbers, like 3, 4 or 7. Why don't you and your children also browse through a toy store looking for other games? Dice games are especially good at combining math-skill building and fun.

A challenging game you can play with your older children is to write a date, such as one for a birthday or holiday. For example, for Valentine's Day, you would write 2/14/05. The next step is to use all the digits to make an equation using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The digits must be kept in order, but they can also be combined. Here is a solution for Valentine's Day: (2-1) + 4 = 0 + 5. Be aware that your children will not be able to make an equation for all dates. Some families play this game every night at the supper table for the current day's date.

You can also play several different Solitaire games. In one, you give all the cards their face value, and aces are 1, Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, and Kings are 13. The object of the game is to combine the number value of five cards in any way using any operation to equal 100. Begin by discarding two cards from the deck and dealing yourself five cards. For example, if the cards dealt are 10, 4, 3, 2 and 8, they could be arranged like this to equal 100. 10(squared uses the 2) x (3 - 8/4) = 100. After a solution has been found for the first five cards, take the next five cards from the top of the deck and repeat the challenge. The game is won if the player can work through the whole deck, meeting each challenge.