To help my five-year-old understand basic math better, I made up a little math learning game entitled "Hide-and-Guess" that Joely really enjoys playing. We use our Math-U-See blocks when we play it, but you can use any kind of manipulatives or objects that you'd like (pennies, cheerios, paper clips, etc.) This game also helps illustrate the concept of number bonds very well.
How to Play the Game
First, Joely and I sit on the floor together. I take five blocks and set them in a small pile on the floor in between us. Then I tell Joely our number is five and I review the different ways that five is made: I have her look at the blocks and we say "five and zero", then I shift one of the blocks to the empty side and we say, "four and one". I shift another block and we say, "three and two". I shift another and we say "two and three" and then "one and four" until finally we reach "zero and five".
Then the game begins. Joely closes her eyes while I take two of the blocks and hide them behind my back (or simply cover them with my hand). Joely then opens her eyes, looks down at the three blocks left on the floor, and has to guess how many blocks I'm holding behind my back. If she knows the answer she says, "Three (pointing at the blocks on the floor) plus two (pointing at me) makes five."
And then it's her turn to hide the blocks and I have to guess how many she's taken.
We've mixed this up for subtraction as well. We still take blocks away from the pile like before, but we say the answer in subtraction form instead. For instance, if we started with five blocks and I hide two behind my back leaving three on the floor, Joely would say, "Five take away two (pointing at me) leaves three (pointing at the blocks remaining on the floor)."
Joely really gets a kick out the game and seems to be catching on to addition and subtraction very well.
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