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Don’t know how it is where you are living, but it has gotten cold here. We love being outside, and we try to make that apart of our day as long as the weather permits. When the high is 33 and the wind is whipping around you, I often find myself passing on that particular routine.

When I find myself skipping our daily dose of vitamin D, there will be some point during the day that the energy will come out. With three rumbctious little boys, there will be a game of tag, wrestling, or whatever else their creative minds can come up with filling my home. While I’m normally fine with that, I decided to create a game that would allow them to get some energy out in an organized way.

After the twins woke up from their naps, we pulled out this game. My kiddos love games, so even if there is some “learning” happening, they really don’t care. They excitedly separated the pieces and were ready to get started.

We first talked about expressions. I explained they were a lot like equations, but they don’t have an answers. I asked them to draw two green cards (my green cards have numbers on them) and one yellow card (operation sign is on my yellow cards). I then had them create their expression.

As we all know, making an adding expression is easy. Subtraction though, you have to have the larger number first. Well, if you want to have a positive number and my kindergarten student is not quite ready for negative numbers yet. I expected to have to discuss this as they made the equations, and I was right. It came about a little different than I thought. With my four year old, I just corrected it and said, “Remember the larger number needs to come first.” He would point out the largest number and we would fix it.


My 5 year old, would actually say it correctly every single time, but his expression would not match what he was saying. I never had to explain to him why the larger number goes first, he instinctly did it. What we did have to go over is that we read expressions the same way we read a book, from left to right. I always love the surprises that come when teaching. You just never know where their are gaps and misunderstanding.

The next step was to solve the expression. My kindergartener was pretty much able to do this on his own. I loved the fact that when he couldn’t do it in his head, he was using our game board, the hundreds chart, to help him solve his expression.

If you are playing with little ones, I would highly recommend having some type of manipulitve with you. I used my fingers to help C, my four year old, solve his expressions. Thinking back on it, he would have done great with math link cubes,  plastic counting bears, counting rods, ect so he could do it on his own.

Now came the fun part!!! We drew a white card (this had our actions on it). Whatever was the solution to their expression was how many times they had to do the action. N got running around our kitchen, and with a laugh he took of running. C had to kick and touch his toes. I love how is tongue is out while he tries to do the action.


Here is another one from a little later in the game. N is jumping up to try to touch the ceiling and then coming down to touch the floor. C  got another kicking one, and is touching opposite toes. I added some crossing the middle line activities as this is great for their brains.



After getting a few wiggles out, the final step is to move up on the hundreds chart. If you were able to complete your challenge, then you get to move up on the hundreds chart based on the solution to your expression.

The boys fully enjoyed this, and as soon as we were done asked to play it again.

Of course we will!! I can’t say no to a game that works on expressions, adding and subtracting, hundreds chart, and burning off some energy!!

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