# More or Less Fun (a mental math game)

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Math games are a fun way to help your child increase his number sense, or his ability to see and understand numerical relationships. This fun game will build mental math abilities, subitizing abilities, and number sense.

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## Description

If you’ve ever taught a child to read, you know just how painful it can be. Yes, it’s rewarding, and yes, watching their eyes light up with understanding is incredible.

But I’m talking about those first hundred or so words that have to be sounded out letter by excruciating letter.  You know who it’s even more agonizing for? The child.

How well would you enjoy reading if you had to sound each word out?

Math is exactly the same!

Until a person is really familiar with numbers and their relationships to each other, that person is going to find math tedious and unpleasant. The only way to become familiar with those numbers is to experience them frequently and repeatedly.

Don’t have to drill him with flashcards, though, unless you want to turn him into a math miscreant!

Instead, provide opportunities to play with numbers.

Math games.

Here’s a fun one for you.

My 12-year-old, Caleb, even enjoyed it, and he’s not usually into dry erase boards or writing or games that don’t involve pixels. He happily raced through all four levels every morning the week I introduced this game, and he hasn’t complained about it yet, despite my dragging it out multiple times this month since I’ve been too busy to come up with something else.

And believe me, if he can find a reason to complain, he will.

Required Materials: All you need to play is a few dice, a dry erase or chalk board, and the laminated printable. I like to attach the printable  to the writing surface with a small binder clip for convenience.

Objectives: Your child will become a pro at subitizing with all this dice rolling. He’ll have to add the dice totals (mental math) and write the number in the square, then he’ll have to come up with one more (or two, five, or ten more) and one less (or two, five, or ten less).

He’ll probably notice that even numbers become odd when you add one or subtract one, but the remain the same (even/odd) when you add or subtract two. He might talk about how certain numbers are rolled more frequently than others, giving you the opportunity to segue into probability. Praise those observations in order to encourage more!

Age range: kindergartners could complete this activity with some help counting the dots on the dice and talking about one more and one less. It would be a good introduction to adding and the concept of more and less. More adding experience would be necessary for independent work, though. My 6-year-old and 10-year-old loved it. It was super easy for my 12-year-old, but he was still able to recognize new relationships between the numbers and it was a good review of mental math for him. I think he’s done with it after using it about ten times over a month. My younger children will still be excited about it if I pull it out infrequently.

If you’re working with multiple children, you could print several and turn this into a competition, seeing who could complete a single strip or all four the quickets, or within a certain time limit.