If your kids are anything like a lot of other kids, math facts can be a monster to learn. Even now, with my kids being in upper elementary and middle school ages, and one of them being a math wiz, they still have issues with mental math and memorizing math facts. So, if you can ever get your hands on some fun and different ways to teach math facts, that would really help with your kids' math fact memorization of mental math strategies and basic math facts. And one of the fun ways I've discovered is with Clumsy Thief Junior — a fun card game, which is the best way to teach math facts to kids…having fun!
Disclaimer: I received this product at a 50% discount from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. See my disclosure policy here.
Best way to learn addition and subtraction facts? Playing math games.
Every year, it seems my kids need a refresher in their mental math. They can do marvelous mid-year and at the end of our fiscal school year (we homeschool year round), but something about that mental part really trips them up right when we're back at it.
Because of this, we don't barge in with lesson one in math when we start the new fiscal homeschool year. We take a few weeks to review their basic facts. Over time, I’ve come to learn which ways are truly effective with my kids, and one of those ways is through playing games.
Which one would you choose: a worksheet full of math problems for memorization through math drills OR a fun game specifically designed for learning and retaining math facts? If you choose the latter, don’t you think your kids will too?
Games and flash cards are the best way to learn addition and subtraction facts, and they help your kids really remember the information so much better rather than the boring math drills and repetitive process of math problems.
I’m not against math drills – we do them here as a warm-up sometimes, or it catches the loop in our morning time loop schedule. I like 5-minute drills myself.
But practicing basic facts through working the problems is a little bit different than playing math games. Because with games, the kids have fun as they feel a slight competitive edge in trying to win something. It’s the creative process of learning facts and being quick on their feet.
Moments during playing a game, the kids will remember when “this” happened or how they came up with the answer to a problem when they did “that.”
Even though there are a ton of games available to help with skills and fact families and basic facts, I do have one fun game that does very well in helping my son and daughter with addition facts and subtraction facts, and it’s probably come to be the best way to learn addition and subtraction facts, for my daughter specifically. This game is Clumsy Thief Jr. that you can get through Timberdoodle and it's a fun way to increase math fact fluency and rote memorization.
Why is Clumsy Thief Junior the best way to teach basic math facts?
My daughter struggles with learning and retaining basic facts, both on a piece of paper and mentally. Even though she knows the concepts and knows how to do 2- and 3-digit adding and subtracting, it’s still the basic facts that get her.
In fact, it’s only nowadays that she’s advanced to not counting on her fingers. She’s 9 and I loosely place her in grade level 5. So as you can imagine, multiplication is somewhat of a beast because of the struggle with basic addition and subtraction math facts, and her skill level goes up and down. I have to make sure to include daily math fact practice
Once she gets going, however, with consistent practice, she does a whole lot better with mental math. But give her a break of any length and it’s back to square one. I’m talking even for just a weekend! Not. Exaggerating.
I've added Clumsy Thief Jr., a fun math card game, to our Morning Time Loop Schedule since it's been one of – if not the – best way to teach math facts, since I've truly seen a difference in my daughter's skill level. So much so, in fact, that I'm confident in her to begin pursuing the more difficult parts of multiplication facts!
About Clumsy Thief Junior
Clumsy Thief Jr. is a super fun card game that helps math fluency, which includes a deck of cards, and helps kids learn their basic facts while also having fun in the process. It's a great way to teach conceptual understanding of the fact family with 10 and adds a variety of ways for fun learning. Though it's a one-digit numbers game for simple calculations, it definitely helps elementary students with learning basic operations and number sense in a creative way.
You can get Clumsy Thief Jr. through Timberdoodle by itself; however, it's also included in the Timberdoodle Kindergarten Curriculum Kit. Play math games, in my opinion, is the best way to learn addition and subtraction facts.
After I taught them the rules of the game and the math fact instruction, my kids were hooting and hollering and having tons of fun!
It’s a competitive little game too. Whoever has the most books (or stacks) when all the cards are gone is the winner.
The whole point of the game is matching cards that will add up to 10, such as a 3 and a 7. If someone is holding a 3 and a 7 in their hands, that’s one stack (or book). Throughout the game you’re trying to make stacks of 10 because, again, whoever has the most stacks by the end of the game wins. It really is the best way to teach math facts for kids who need to build a strong foundation.
Why it’s called Thief?
You can add onto someone else’s stack too. If the last card on top is a 6, if you have a 4 you would add that to the 6 to make 10, and that whole stack goes to you, practically stealing or snatching the entire stack from the next player.
And they can also steal the stack back if they do the same maneuver!
Another way to steal a stack is from the Thief card. If a player happens to draw a thief card, they can take a stack from any player.
But you can block them from stealing stacks too with Trap Cards. A Trap Card only takes a stack with a Thief Card. You’d play the Trap Card on top of the Thief Card and take the whole stack from someone. You can also top your own Thief Card with a Trap Card, too, to prevent others from taking your stack.
Overall, your cards must add up to exactly 10 in order to make a stack. See how this fun card game can help with mental math and basic math facts? It’s been a real winner in our house and so much fun and, for us, the best way to learn addition and subtraction facts!
Best Way to Teach Math Facts While Having Fun
Learning basic math facts are the building blocks to a strong foundation in math. To see a students' future success is to truly learn these important facts all the way from the beginning. Fun games such as Clumsy Thief Jr. helps build this strong foundation for mental strategies and long-term memory simply with regular playing cards and, as kids are playing the game, they'll begin to memorize math facts so much easier, which in turn will help them later on when they get into advanced math lessons, like larger numbers and times tables and multiplication facts.
Clumsy Thief Jr. is a fun activity for your kids and serves as extra practice beginning with a math concept of adding up to 10, where the foundation truly begins. Learn more about Clumsy Thief Junior with Timberdoodle here and help your kids really solidify their basic math facts while having fun in the process! Or check out Timberdoodle's entire Kindergarten Curriculum Kit that also includes Clumsy Thief Jr.!