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Making Math Fun For Kids – Part 2: Math Checkers

Previously, I’ve talked about maintaining a fun learning environment to get your kids enthusiastic about math. Today, I shall talk about giving a well-known board game a mathematical spin!

Math Checkers

Checkers have been a classic family game for generations, but did you know about “math checkers”?

Just like normal checkers, each player has to line up the game pieces on the white squares on each side of the board. The game starts with one player moving a game piece forward by one space in a diagonal direction. If your opponent’s piece is on a diagonal space ahead of you, you can jump over their piece and remove it from the board. You may jump multiple spaces in sequence if there is a vacant space between two or three opponent pieces ahead of your piece. If your piece reaches the opponent’s side of the board, your piece becomes a king and can move forward or backward on the board, but still in a diagonal direction only.

Now for math checkers, there are additional rules. For starters, take a look at the board:

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As before, the white squares are where you line up the game pieces, but in order to move forward, you have to solve the mathematical equation on the space you are moving to first. Then the answer is written down as points. So the greater the multiplication, the harder the equation is, and therefore, the more points you win. If you are jumping over an opponent’s piece, you have to solve the equation you land on. If you are jumping over multiple pieces, you have to solve all the equations between each opponent piece. Make sure to record down all the points you win. The player with the most points at the end wins.

Among the math games I have in mind, this is probably the cheapest. Aside from the printable checkerboard above, I’ve also prepared printable game pieces below. And should you not have access to a printer at all, you could just take any ordinary piece of paper and draw an 8×8 grid with math equations in between each square like in the picture while using any ordinary round objects as substitute game pieces. Talk about handicrafts that are cheap, fun to make and even suitable for an art lesson!

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Next time, I shall dive in further to another classic game, one that you might not be aware that it too could be used to make math fun! Until next time, keep it real but keep it fun.

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