One of my favorite games to play with my younger students is called “What’s My Rule?” In this fun sorting game, players sort and classify objects based on their characteristics and attributes. This helps young learners begin to understand the geometric characteristics of shapes and objects. Playing "What's My Rule?" allows your child to use mathematical vocabulary appropriately, such as identifying a triangle as a shape with three sides — and not just by its color. Just a few rounds of the game will broaden your child’s view on sorting and classifying, which will carry over as she begins to look at larger numbers and build her number sense in older grades.
How to Play
Step 1: Collect about a dozen different objects to use for the game, such as shells, stickers, Legos, leaves, balls, etc. Aim to find objects that don’t look too similar and have about three or four different geometric characteristics. You can focus on any of the following attributes: size, color, shape, texture, or number of sides.
Step 2: Create a circle — you can draw it with sidewalk chalk, use string to create the circle, or a plop down a hula-hoop. Eventually, this circle will contain all the objects that conform to the rule you determine.
Step 3: To start the game, think of a rule using a specific characteristic that your objects possess. Silently and slowly, begin to put the objects that follow your rule inside the circle. I usually put about three objects in the circle. Then ask your child, “What’s my rule?” Let him answer but don’t tell him if he's correct.
Step 4: Next, put three objects outside the circle that do not follow your rule.
Step 5: Now, ask your child to take an object and place it inside or outside the circle so that it follows your rule. If you are playing with more than one child, everyone can take a turn.
Step 6: Keep taking turns adding objects until there are no objects left to sort.
Step 7: Ask your child to explain what the rule was for the game.
Here's an example of how the game would look being play with shapes. In this case, my rule is that all shapes have to have four sides: