How many times have we played "I'm thinking of a number" with our kids? And how many times have we thought, not again?
Instead of getting annoyed and having the kids randomly guess numbers, consider changing the rules to get them to think about numbers in a new way. A great game I always started the school year off with is "What's My Number?" Now that my children are school-aged, I find myself playing it with them all the time. Here's how it goes:
My number is even.
My number is less than 10.
My number is greater than 7.
What's my number? (The answer is 8.)
This is an easy and fun game that will help children build their number sense. It can also be adapted for any age level. As my daughter has gotten older, I've been able to use more math vocabulary, such as even, odd, skip counting, prime, composite, etc. This is a great way to quiz kids on their math vocabulary without them even knowing! No matter where you are -- in the car, cooking dinner, waiting for practice -- kids are always trying to beat each other to find the answer.
As you continue to play the game, don't be afraid to use large numbers -- 2- and 3-digit numbers are great, too. Encouraging your children not to be afraid of big numbers is wonderful! For example:
My number is 2 digits long.
My number is greater than 50 and less than 80.
If you skip count by 5 you will land on my number (or, 5 is a factor of my number).
The sum of the digits of my number is 12 (7 +5 = 12).
What's my number? (The answer is 75.)
Another version is to think of multiple answers. Don't limit your children's thinking to only one number. Consider changing the parameters a little to expand their thinking and broaden their understanding. Below I changed the first example a little to have 3 answers:
I have three numbers.
My numbers are even.
My numbers are less than 12.
My numbers are greater than 5.
What are my numbers? (The answer is 6, 8, and 10.)
Before you know it, your kids will want to quiz you. So watch out! Having them do this verbally or on paper is fantastic. They will be developing their understanding of numbers without even knowing it! So instead of the boring game "I'm Thinking of a Number," consider changing it up to a creative game that will challenge both you and your children!