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Rainy Day Math Games

My father once babysat three of his grandchildren, all under the age of five, for a Saturday morning. A former physical education teacher, he believed in organized fun, so before the children arrived he set up a whole series of games in the basement.

  • Drop the clothespin in the juice bottle
  • How many seconds can you stand on one foot with your eyes closed?
  • Bean Bag Toss, with 1, 2 or 3 points per toss depending on the targets you landed on
  • Marble Roll


And more. At least 10 stations, with scorecards for each child. Dad included “Round 1” and “Round 2” columns so that the children were competing against themselves to avoid sibling rivalry. They recorded their own scores (which could be done with hash marks since the children weren’t yet in preschool) with just a tad of help.

What games can you make with the toys and everyday supplies in your house? There’s no limit to the number of simple activities you can set up. Our children’s favorite, invented by my husband, was called “Bomb the Castle.” This was a no-moms-allowed game, but I do know it involved keeping score on how many cardboard blocks you knocked over with a foam ball.

Store-bought games such as Yahtzee, 7-Ate-9, and any game with dice, money, or number cards like Sorry! can of course reinforce basic math skills. But on a rainy day, my dad’s ideas for hands-on, keep-moving fun will keep them busy while helping them get smarter!

By Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is