Each year my son’s school throws together a night to celebrate math and play games. We always come home with a new handful of games that we love to play and that encourage him to practice math. The added perk is that his little sister gets a lesson in math, too, as she tries to join us in all the games. A game we have been playing recently is a version of Go Fish with a math twist.
What You Will Need:
- Deck of cards with numbers (UNO, Phase 10, Regular face cards – remove any cards with letters because that may get a little confusing)
- At least 2 players that know their numbers 1-10
To be able to play this version of Go Fish you must know how to play Go Fish itself first. I would hate to assume everyone knows how to play and leave them hanging. So if you already know how to play, skip to the next section below.
Object: Collect pairs of matching cards (two 4′s, two 9′s, etc. Having two spades or the same of any other character does not count. For this game the numbers matter)
How To Play Go Fish: Each player is dealt 5 cards. The remaining cards are place in the middle face down for a draw pile. Each player takes a turn asking one other player for a card/number they currently have in their own hand. (The goal is to get matches, so if you have a 4 in your hand, you would ask one of your opponents, “Do you have a 4?”). If the player asked has the card, they must hand it over. If they do not have it, they respond “Go Fish” and the player who asked for the card must pick from the draw pile and their turn is over. Continue play until all matches are made. Common instructions say that a turn keeps going if a match is received, but for my sanity match or no match it is the next player’s turn.
Go Fish With a Math Twist
Object: Collect pairs pairs that differ by a certain number (i.e. if you choose that they differ by one, then a 2 and a 3 are now a match because 2+1=3).
How To Play Go Fish With a Math Twist: Choose what number you want your pairs to differ by. Follow the directions above for Go Fish except instead of each player asking their opponent for a card that matches one that is currently in their hand, they will ask for one that differs by the selected number (i.e. same as above: if you choose that they differ by one, then a 2 and a 3 are now a match because 2+1=3). Keep going until no more pairs can be made.
This is a great way to practice math and have some fun together. As I mentioned above, my soon to be Kindergartner loves to join in with her big brother and although she needs to ask for help, she catches on pretty quick. We have been practicing plus 1′s for now because she is playing with us, but as we get more comfortable or if it is just me and my son, we can start doing subtraction only or numbers differing by 3 (just for example). The sky is the limit on the amount of variations you can have with this fun and simple game.