We found a fantastic new book at the library last week, Games (Action Math), that contains the directions to create and play games that indirectly teach or enhance math skills. The majority of the materials used are ones we would already have on hand, or cheap to buy, and a lot of them can be created from re-purposed materials.
As I mentioned before, Everett is very interested in games and math right now, so this was a particularly perfect find.
The first game he chose to make was a board game called Forward and Backward. We created a checkered game board, with each space numbered, up to 36. We used a piece of corrugated cardboard on hand, and cut squares and a border out of some green and brown contact paper, since we had it on hand and using the sticky paper would eliminate the need for glue. We made a couple of game pieces out of re-purposed wine corks and for now have been using a die from another game, as we are yet to make our spinner.
The concept of the game is simple. You start off the board. If you roll a 4, 5 or 6, you move forward that many spaces. If you roll a 1, 2, or 3, you move backward that many spaces. When Everett and I play, every time we land on a space we identify the number.Everett's math skills are already improving with this game. He is able to count further and identify more numbers by sight. I can also see this game being valuable when he learns addition and subtraction. Overall, a quiet and simple but fun game!