Homemade Math Games for Eight-Year-Olds

Make math learning fun with hand-crafted games.
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Whether you're seeing a dip in your child's math scores or are simply looking for a way to punch-up your child's learning, homemade math games for 8-year-olds can provide both education and entertainment. Tackle grade-level mathematics subject matter in numeracy, operations and other areas with a few make-your-own activities that are both budget-friendly and rich in academic value.

1 Two-Digit Operations

Adding 12 and 10 to get 22 might seem simple to you, but your 8-year-old is just figuring out how to do two-digit operations. Add a math element to the traditional bingo game by throwing in an addition or subtraction element. Divide a cardboard square -- the front of a cereal box cut in half will make two boards -- into a five-by-five grid. Write down two-digit numbers in the grid squares. Make a separate square grid on a piece of card stock paper, writing numbers that add up to, or subtract down to, the board numbers on each one. For example, if one of the numbers on your cardboard square is 22, you will need a 10 and a 12 or two 11's. Throw the numbers into a bag and pick two at a time. Have your child and his friends add the numbers up and find the product on the board. They can mark the numbers with a penny, pebble or similarly-sized object. When a player gets five in a row, he can raise his hand or say, "I have five" to show that he has won.

2 Tessellation Racing

Spice up geometry learning by creating a race to the tessellation. Cut 10 squares from two different colors of card stock paper, with five in one color and five in another. Turn each square on an end to make a diamond shape, and cut it in half to get two triangles. Repeat this process with two other colors of paper. Give your child one set and a friend or sibling another. Explain that a tessellation is a design that features repeating shapes that fit tightly together without overlapping. Yell, "Ready, set, go!" and have the kids race to make their own tessellations. The first person to finish must raise his hand to win. You can also try this game with one child racing a stop watch instead of a peer.

3 Fraction Pie Pieces

Simply saying "two-thirds" or "three-fourths" to an 8-year-old won't help her to truly understand the concept of fractions. Instead of telling, show your child what fractions are and how to compare them through a few simple games. Create your own piece of the pie -- or pizza -- game by dividing a beach ball-sized circle into 10 equal slices. Repeat this step, making a few different pizzas or pies for multiple players. Give each child -- use two or more players, depending on how many fraction pizzas you make -- her own pie. Call out a fraction, such as one-tenth, and instruct the kids to create the correct representation on their "plates." The first one to get it right wins.

4 Multiplication Games

Help your young student to learn his multiplication tables with a game of multiplication bingo. By third grade, children should have the skills to multiply whole numbers that equal up to 100, and you can emphasize this ability with a mental math game. Divide square pieces of cardboard into five-by-five grids. Add product numbers to the squares based on the multiplication tables that the child is learning. For example, you could do a row of fives that features 10, 15, 25, 30 and 35. Write the equations that go with the product answers on index cards, and cut a few other cards into square or circular markers. Call out the equations and have the child -- or children -- mark the answers. When they get a row across, diagonally or down, they can call "bingo."

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.