Miss Brain's Cool Math Games offers simple games that homeschoolers can use with children in in kindergarten through second or third grade despite the narrower grade level suggestions in the subtitle. The book is divided into topical sections covering number sense, counting, addition, subtraction, place value, money, fractions, and multiplication. Some fraction and multiplication games toward the end of the book might be useful beyond second grade.
Each section begins with a brief overview of some key concepts and skills children need to learn in the primary grades. This section includes great teaching tips and ways to explain concepts that are age appropriate.
Games are simple, with each one focused on only one particular skill. They might require a standard deck of cards, dice, pencil and paper, a 100's chart, dried beans, paper sacks, empty egg cartons, rubber bands, coins, and other items you will almost certainly have around the house. While a few of the games can be used in a "solitaire" version, most require two or more players. In most instances, a parent can be the other player, but it might be more fun for two or more children to play together. The author, Kelli Pearson, frequently points out games that work well with players of differing abilities as well as the few variations of games that should be played by players at the same level. There are 36 games in the book, so there are plenty of options for first and second grade levels with even a few that should be useful with kindergartners and third graders. Older students might want to join in just for fun even if they've mastered the particular math skills.
It should take no more than a couple of minutes to read the instructions and figure out how to play each game. Instructions are clear, and the occasional notes indicate that Pearson has tried these out and figured special adaptations needed in different situations.
At the back of the book are reproducible pages for a hundreds chart, place value mat, number line, fraction bars, number cards, and skip counting lists. Two indexes, one alphabetical and the other topical, help you quickly find appropriate games to use.
Parents using a more traditional program who want to add more conceptual and hands-on instruction should find this book especially useful, but games are a terrific way to help all children both learn and practice math concepts. This book makes implementing games into your curriculum easy and fun for both parent and child.