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Subject: Seeking Math-Type Games for 5-Yr-Old Prodigy rss

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Jeremy Yoder
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I have a friend with a 5-year-old who is very advanced for his age at math. (No, he's not autistic.) They're wondering what games could help foster that skill, so I thought I'd ask the BGG. He's most likely past "age appropriate" math games, but I can still pass along such suggestions.

I can only come up with logic or spatial games, which they aren't looking for. I just don't know of any games that "makes math fun" but figured it anyone did, this would be the place to ask.

Thanks in advance.
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Sue Hemberger

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Code 777 (deduction/analytical reasoning -- OOP but easy to DIY; involves reading but someone else could do that for him if need be.)
24/7: The Game (addition)
Ka-Ching! (simple multiplication as well as addition)
Krypto (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division -- can be modified to take skill levels into account).
Diamant (division with remainders)
Kingdoms (multiplication, positive and negative numbers)

are all good games with a reasonably serious math component and that, in my experience, are accessible to some mathematically-gifted kids in K-2.
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Anna Yalci
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Take It To The Limit is a good numbers game our children enjoy.
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Davido
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Krypto utilizes all 4 basic arithmetic operations to use one's cards to 'solve for' the 'up card'.

Zeus on the Loose also uses basic math in a fun way.
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Paul DeStefano
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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Lost Cities

You really need to get the math to play well.
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Adam Smiles
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Can't Stop and Pickomino might fit the bill.
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Billy McBoatface
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JYoder wrote:
Dad: "Who told you that?"
Kid: "My brain."
My brain told me to eat something yummy.

But on a more serious note: Sounds like he's beyond rat-a-tat-cat. I've found that Lost Cities is a great way to get my 6 year old to practice additions (although I haven't told her that this is one of my reasons for offering to play!)

I second Sue's recommendations for Kingdoms and Diamant/Incan Gold. The latter is good for any kid, mathsy or no, and introduces division. The former would be good for practicing multiplication, which he is probably ready for.
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Sandra Sherwood
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My son enjoys Numbers League: Adventures in Addiplication. The base is addition, but the expansion, Numbers League: Infinity Level Expansion Deck, adds division and decimals.
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Exit 191
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Loot is a fun pirate themed game that involves math. My wife and I really enjoy it.

originally linked to wrong game
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Mike Frantz
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I really like Tumblin' Dice for this. My kids have to do all the scoring. What I like about it is that you have to come up with your own strategies for doing the final tallying (we only play the game such that the "score" for the round is the difference between the two teams).

Incan Gold is a good choice too.

Can't Stop is nice for probabilities.

Stone Age might be good in a little while. I'd shorten it though, and maybe even take out the civ cards.

Frankly I would just go for any game that works for kids ages 6-8 or so that don't require a ton of reading (unless he's advanced there as well). Games require problem solving even if it isn't as blatant as a pure math formula.
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Allen Hauwiller
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Santiago could be a good one - lots of multiplication and addition to do in that game when looking for the optimal play, figuring out how much to bid, etc. There's an online implementation at www.spielbyweb.com so you can try before you buy too.
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Scott Russell
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24 Game
flip a card showing four numbers and the first player to use the four basic operations and all four numbers to result in 24 gets the card and flips the next one.
This is good for arithmetic practice.

Of course if he's really advanced and you want to work on math, try this one,
WFF 'N PROOF
devil

Not directly related to math, but more to set theory (and still fun for precocious children
Picus

Many of Staupe's are similarly useful for math type concepts.
Many of Playroom's offerings offer the chance to "informally" calculate probabilities.
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Sue Hemberger

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wmshub wrote:
Sounds like he's beyond rat-a-tat-cat.


Then it's time for I Go! -- check out both modes of scoring. If I remember correctly, the American version is mathier, but the German version makes for a better game. Not worth playing unless you have at least 3, IMHO.

And on the same (exact!) theme, Shanghaien is 2-player only and I enjoy the math in it -- there's card counting, probabilities, and lots of opportunity-cost type calculations. It's more analysis than computation but running the numbers in the various scenarios is key to victory. (At least that's why I think I almost always win -- my husband and daughter seem to play more impressionistically, so maybe it's not a math-y game for everyone.)

Haba also has a new multiplication game featuring fly-swatters. It looks fun, though I haven't played it yet. I think the name is "3 time 4 equals swat" and you can probably find it on Amazon.com. (I couldn't find it in the BGG database.) Grashüpfer im Zahlenland is a younger version -- more addition/subtraction oriented, but really nice for kids who like to think and move at the same time.

One thing to remember in all of this is that he's 5 and regardless of how good his math skills are, many games involve other kinds of skills (including attention span, sitting still, reading, planning ahead) that he may not yet have. So, for example, while I've played Kingdoms with a smart kindergartener, when I've done so, I've played a single round --not the usual three.
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lisa smith
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I was quite advanced for my age in math and my parents bought me games from the wffnproof company. I really liked them and played with them more than my other games. They look like really dull educational games but they are not dull for kids that like math.

http://wffnproof.com/store/

The person that runs Kadon games, Kate Jones, is a mathametian and many of the games are interesting from a math prespectitive.

http://www.gamepuzzles.com/


(I became a physicist, eventually.)
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Jae
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//EDIT:

I echo Sue's recommendations as well.
Her opinion is very well thought out.
I also neglected WFF'n Proof, but it is a game on logic proofs, see my discussion below on that...


JYoder wrote:

I have a friend with a 5-year-old who is very advanced for his age at math. (No, he's not autistic.)


I think the word you are looking for is "savant".
My child is autistic and is only good at math when bribed with a new Transformer toy.
And how do you know that he isn't autistic or on the PDD spectrum.
It is entirely possible that the child may have Asperger's.

Quote:
They're wondering what games could help foster that skill, so I thought I'd ask the BGG. He's most likely past "age appropriate" math games, but I can still pass along such suggestions. I can only come up with logic or spatial games, which they aren't looking for. I just don't know of any games that "makes math fun" but figured it anyone did, this would be the place to ask.


I think you may be overlooking the obvious here.
Logic IS math.
In fact, logic can be considered to be one of the higher levels of math application. Indeed, you can't prove anything mathematically without a solid foundation in logic.

Spatial games also are a form of mathematics that deals with topography.

In fact, given the conversations you described, it is entirely possible that the child may consider a pure "mathematical" game (algebraic game) to be insulting and dull. Unless he is PDD, in which case, that's just the thing he needs.

The question you asked is too broad, and probably not thoroughly considered. You asked for games that focus on math, and specifically by description you are looking for games that focus on algebraic calculus (figuring sums and equations). Is this the intent, or do the parents want to expand his mathematical ability into related areas?


For pure computation, my recommendation would be some sort of economic game. Power Grid is the one that leaps to mind for me. The balance of resource management with market indicators and calculations of costs and returns would be very well suited to a talent like this.

For numeric conversions and set theory, I highly recommend Bazaar. I think the trick to this one is the child will likely be better at it than any of his opponents.

If you are looking for a truly numeric centric game, I would commend Quinto. It's mathematical scrabble.

For mere support of his multiplication and division capabilities (he really wouldn't learn much from it), Tumblin-Dice would work well.
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Mike Adams
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davido wrote:

Zeus on the Loose also uses basic math in a fun way.


This is a fun one. It's not very complex and it's very popular with my kids (and my daughter's class when she was in third grade - we gave the class a copy, they went nuts with it, the teacher bought more games...)
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I echo the above recommendations. But be wary of presenting the game to him explicitly as a "math game". That's a sure way to lose interest. I think he'd get more satisfaction out of a game if he realized on his own that his math skills were giving him an advantage, rather than an adult telling him "hey, this game is about numbers!"
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Ben Foy
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I'm surprised no one mentioned Hare & Tortoise.
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Max Jamelli
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Probably not age appropriate, but Power Grid has different forms of mathematic strategy.
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Ben Foy
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Bagherra wrote:
I think you may be overlooking the obvious here.
Logic IS math.
In fact, logic can be considered to be one of the higher levels of math application. Indeed, you can't prove anything mathematically without a solid foundation in logic.


Lol, all puzzles and games will interest someone who is mathematically inclined. But that doesn't answer the question. And I think Power Grid is alittle too much for even an advanced 5 y.o.
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Sue Hemberger

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BFoy wrote:
Bagherra wrote:
I think you may be overlooking the obvious here.
Logic IS math.
In fact, logic can be considered to be one of the higher levels of math application. Indeed, you can't prove anything mathematically without a solid foundation in logic.


Lol, all puzzles and games will interest someone who is mathematically inclined. But that doesn't answer the question.


I thought Bagherra was making a really important point with that comment. Lots of not-so-mathematically inclined parents push their mathematically inclined kids (especially the pre-literate ones) toward calculation -- and their goal is to get the kid to work with larger numbers and more complex operations and to do the calculations as speedily as possible. That's a good way to flatten math into something uninteresting at an early age.

I had to smile when one kindergarten mom bragged that her kid could add 5 digit numbers with no carrying. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it's the same skill as adding single-digit numbers. My guess is that her kid might have been able to tell her that had he not been convinced by her praise that he was doing something very, very advanced.
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Max Jamelli
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BFoy wrote:
And I think Power Grid is alittle too much for even an advanced 5 y.o.


I'm awful at estimating what a child can or can't pick up - not much experience.

Although, at it's core PG is basicallu just straight addition. Now the 5 year old may not grasp the total strategy, but if you played some form of a cooperative variant where an adult guided the strategy aspect and it was up to the child to buy the resources and cities with the money on hand, it may work.
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Scott Russell
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BFoy wrote:

Lol, all puzzles and games will interest someone who is mathematically inclined. But that doesn't answer the question. And I think Power Grid is alittle too much for even an advanced 5 y.o.


Maybe but my then 7 (now 10) yo played a decent game. (He's better now.)
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Max Jamelli
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smithhemb wrote:


I had to smile when one kindergarten mom bragged that her kid could add 5 digit numbers with no carrying. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it's the same skill as adding single-digit numbers. My guess is that her kid might have been able to tell her that had he not been convinced by her praise that he was doing something very, very advanced.


When I was in Kindergarten I could add any numbers I wanted. I did have to carry sometimes though.



(I had to carry a calculator ... da da ch)
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Matt Davis
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I concur that logic is just as important as calculational skill. Calculational skill is a goal of math, but (IMHO) one that is over-emphasized by our society (and thus our schools). Logical thinking and abstract reasoning skills, on the other hand, are skills that are useful not only in math, but everywhere in life. If you can reason and think about what you're doing, you can understand things like computations much more easily - thus letting you acquire computational skill more easily. Schools tend to neglect things like logic, and I as a grad student have calculus students who can "do" algebra, but scarcely understand what they're doing, and thus make mistakes left and right. Any parents who may be listening, don't underestimate teaching your kids logic.

[/soapbox]
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