I'd like to share a game my kids have always loved - Pick Up Sticks with Straws.
To play, just pick up a box of straws. These were 99 cents at Price Chopper. Cut the straws into sections. I used a ruler and cut pieces of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 inches long.
Then, play just like the traditional game of Pick Up Sticks. One player holds the sticks vertically in his or hand with the bottom of each straw touching the table (or floor). The straws scatter as they are released. Players take turns trying to pick up a straw without moving any other straw. If any other straw moves, that straw is returned to the pile.
I love to use this game for measurement and estimation! Players can be challenged to pick a straw and then estimate its length. Either nonstandard units (such as paper clips) or standard units (such as inches can be used). If the player estimates within one unit of the actual length, he/she keeps the straw. If not, the straw is put back into the pile and play continues. Variations include playing until all straws have been picked, or playing until a player's straws can form a straight line from one end of the table to the other.
Looking for a quicker game? One player can hold a collection of straws of a variety of lengths. Straws up to five inches long generally work best for this. The player conceals the bottom of the straws within their hands and let's the top show. The other players take turns picking a straw. Options include:
- Pick one straw each. Player with the longest straw wins, if he/she can tell how long the straw is.
- Pick several straws each. Players measure their straws and add the length. Player with the greatest length wins.
- Pick two straws each.Player with total length closest to 5 units wins.
- Pick two straws each. Find the difference between the lengths of the two straws. The player with the greatest difference wins.
Kids often have so much fun with these games that they don't even realize they are practicing important math skills.
Do you have favorite, easy to make, inexpensive math games? If so, I'd love to hear about them!
Thanks for stopping by! :) Anne Gardner