Math through Games {SimplyFun Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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Today’s review is for Expanders, a board game by SimplyFun. If you don’t already have a closet full of math games, you really should consider getting a few!


Why teach math through games?

Elementary math is a lot of memorization. Math facts are the foundation of everything else your child will ever learn in math class. Ever. Do you know how hard life would be if you didn’t have instant recall of basic math facts? As much as no one likes to drill math facts, it’s something that most of us end up doing, extensively, in the early years while teaching the kids.

But it gets tiresome. And the kids hate it most of the time.

Enter games. Everyone loves games. They are mostly painless for adults (especially when game play goes quickly!). More importantly, they work. A good game can help your child get math facts down in a jiffy. They move quickly, competitive kids will be quick to learn the facts they need to win, and everyone is happy in the end.

How does Expanders work?

Expanders is a game that helps children practice their addition and subtraction math facts easily. In order to play, your child will need to figure out how to break down numbers into their smaller parts. For example, 10 can equal 8 + 2 or 7 + 3 or 5 + 5. The more combinations they can instantly recall, the easier it is to play the game, and the more likely they’ll win.

Simply Fun Review
To play, your child will take their colored tokens, and place them on the board. They start on the side, and can either place their tokens on two identical numbers (for example, two 8’s) on a row, or they can chose a number and expand it. After the first move, each token must play off numbers already marked on the board.

As the game goes on, you end up with less and less room to play, and it gets challenging to find different ways to expand your numbers. The goal is to get rid of your tokens first. With my younger son, we play only by expanding the numbers into two pieces. With my older, I challenge him to expand the numbers into their smallest parts (for example, 10 can be 2 +3 + 4 + 1).

What I really love about this game as a parent is that the whole thing only takes about 10 minutes to play. Even better, it’s the perfect game for an older and younger sibling to play together. Because the board is made up of multiple smaller strips of numbers, which can be arranged in any order, it’s always a new challenge for the boys and they keep coming back for more.

Bug already had his facts mastered, but he is challenged to see just how far he can expand his numbers. Mr. Man gets better and better with his facts the more games he plays.

SimplyFun has a whole bunch of educational games to choose from, and I really can’t stress enough how much more pleasant it is to play a game instead of drilling math facts with flash cards. Check out their entire catalog, and click the banner below to read more crew reviews!

Simply Fun Review

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