So many parents have asked me where to get the best math games and manipulatives, and how to keep their child(ren) engaged at home with math. They feel they need to buy expensive tools and games, but really there are so many regular items that might already be in your house that are just as good, if not better! Index cards are a great tool to have to create any math game in your home that can be used over and over! You can use any color, size, or format of index cards to make lots of games and have fun. Below are some ideas of how to use index cards to make learning math at home fun!
1. Digit Cards
Write the digits 0-9 four times on a set of index cards. Digit cards can be used in many different facets. Check my last blog to see lots of ideas. One easy game is with place value – each person playing turns over 3 (or more) digit cards. Each player tries to make the highest (or lowest) number possible with the digits. Whoever makes the highest number wins all the cards. The player with the most cards at the end wins!
2. Dot Cards
On index cards, draw different dot representations. These can be similar to dice or any visual order. Then write the numerical values that match the dot cards on separate cards. Mix all the cards up and place them face down. Each player turns over two cards to see if they match. The game continues like a normal game of concentration.
3. Base Ten Cards
Draw different base ten representations on individual index cards. The size of the number represented can depend on the age of your child(ren). For example the number 174 would have a picture of 1 flat (hundreds), 7 longs (tens) and 4 dots (ones). The child turns over 1 base ten card at a time and writes the number in standard form, word form, and expanded form. This can be repeated a number of times.
4. Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To
Write the greater than, less than, and equal to symbol on three different index cards. These can be used over and over to compare whole number, fractions, decimals, rational numbers, etc. For example: the child turns over 6 index cards and makes 2 different three-digit numbers. He/she then uses the symbol cards to compare the numbers and records the comparison in a journal.
5. Fraction/Decimal Cards
Write different age-appropriate fractions/decimals on each index card. The cards can be used to play fraction/decimal war -- turn over two cards and compare the fractions and/or decimals. Whichever player has the greater (or lesser) fraction/decimals wins the cards. These cards can also be used to add, subtraction, multiply, or divide fractions and decimals.
6. Number Lines
Tape 5 or more index cards together to make a large number line. The number line can start and end wherever is necessary. It can be used to help with counting or using the 4 basic operations. It can also be used with the digit cards and fraction/decimals cards. Having a large number line is a great visual representation to help understand several different math concepts.