Math Playground: Give Your Brain a Workout

Level(s): Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

"What can we do for homework?" We used this grant money to create a bank of math games for primary, junior and intermediate students that can be signed out by families to enjoy math practice in an engaging way.

Math games are an essential part of the comprehensive math program, as well as a great way to engage families in the math learning that is happening in classrooms. We plan to assemble, as division teams, games that can be used in classrooms and sent home with students to improve student understanding of numeracy concepts and encourage families to have fun with math.

We will apply current research to construct games that can be played with multi-age groupings to intentionally target and address gaps in understanding around quantity and proportional reasoning to move students along their learning trajectories.

Team Members

  • Courtney Baumhard

    York Region District School Board

  • Colleen Andrews

    York Region District School Board

  • Alanna Joncas

    York Region District School Board

  • Greg Jaski

    York Region District School Board

  • Stacey Doherty

    York Region District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

Through this project, we learned of many engaging math games (including commercially produced ones) that can be used across all three divisions within the school. We also learned that many of these math games cover multiple strands of the math curriculum, and encourage critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and communication of math strategies and thinking. We discovered that the achievement chart for mathematics learning is deeply embedded in the act of playing math games.

Activities and Resources

It was so wonderful to receive this grant. How many times have you gone to look for math games to incorporate in your program, only to find that you don’t have all the pieces required (dice, cards, counters, etc.) or that it will be quite time-consuming to create enough copies of games for your class to all enjoy? We are so excited to have had the time and money to research, create and purchase all the games and game items needed to completely outfit our school with multiple copies of many math games for all three divisions.

We began by asking for staff input on math strands they felt many students struggle with. We also asked for lists of their favourite, tried-and-true math games. We used this feedback to begin our research into the most engaging math games available for each strand of the curriculum. Once we had researched and organized the games in folders on our staff team drive (Google), we began printing, creating, laminating and organizing the various game bags (complete with content lists to ensure pieces are all returned to the correct bags).

Once all games were organized in bags, we sorted them by math strand and stored them in hanging file bins. On each bag, we indicated which division(s) the game was best suited for. The bins will be stored in the same area as all our other math resources.

Unexpected Challenges

One challenge we faced was finding the best way to help staff understand the logistics of the grant, the vision of the project and the importance of having the release time to accomplish our goals.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

It is our hope that this project will help students both in class and at home. These games will be a great addition to the comprehensive math classroom and once students are familiar with them, they can sign them out to share with their families. Playing games with their families will be a meaningful way to consolidate the learning that is happening in class, while also encouraging families to disconnect from technology and spend some quality time together. When we hosted our Family Math Night in January and introduced some of the simple math games we had found, families absolutely loved it. If that night is any indication, this project should be very well-received by our community.


We plan to share the bank of math games, along with the sign-out system we have created, with staff on the final PA Day this school year. We will share the different types of games, explain how to sign them out (and how to allow families to sign them out), and give them time to explore some of the different games that we have created and purchased. An inventory of all games and game pieces has also been created on our staff team drive (Google) along with e-copies of all games that we created.

In the fall, we would like to share this information with our students and their families. We will do so by sending information in our weekly email bulletin, as well as have a booth set up at the Meet the Teacher BBQ in September to showcase what is available for their use.

Project Evaluation

We are so excited about and proud of our project! Having all the games created, prepared, organized, and ready to “grab and go” is such an exciting accomplishment that we really hope everyone is going to love as much as we do! We truly feel that having these games ready and on-hand will encourage more classrooms and families to implement meaningful math practice through fun, engaging math games.