It's easy to get in a rut with math and rely on lots of workbook pages and drilling. That's a shame, because there really are lots of wonderfully fun ways to play with math and numbers.

Here's five alternatives to those workbook pages.

Play driveway math. Draw circles in colorful chalk on the driveway or sidewalk and put a number in each. Call out math problems and have the kids hop to the right answer. It's silly fun that can get challenging when it's a long hop or they have to hop around another player!

You can do this inside when the weather is bad, too. Some homeschooling friends of ours drew numbered circles on a vinyl tablecloth and spread it out on the living room floor.

Play division games with chocolate chips. Start with a handful of chocolate chips or small candies, and ask the kids to count them. Take turns giving the kids a number to divide the pile into. They solve the problems with the chocolate chips as manipulatives, and then they get to eat the remainers. Ask them for suggestions on what to divide by next, and remind them to try to think of a number that will give a big remainer so there's lots to eat! Keep going until you get down to none.

Play Math Swat. Tape numbers to the table, with lots of room in between. Give each child a fly swatter. Ask them math questions and have them swat the answer. See who can swat it first!

Do a math relay race on the road. Here's a fun way to work math in while you're in the car. Start with a number and have each person take turns calling out the new number, something new to do with it and “handing” it to the next person. For example, start with 13 and call out “Anna, times 2.” Anna calls out “26! Jack, minus 3.” Jack hollers out “23, Victoria, plus 81″ and so on. See how long you can keep the chain going as a family.

Play the stock market. Give the kids \$1,000 imaginary dollars to invest in stocks of their choosing. Track their value each day (for as short or long a period of time as you like), either online or in the newspaper. See if they can make a profit. If you like, graph how the stocks did over time.

Have fun!

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