Spielgaben: Activity 4

As part of our Spielgaben activity this week we will be exploring the times tables.

In this activity children will learn how to work out and remember times table facts using wooden points to help them visualise the numbers rather than making them memorise abstract sums which can often be frustrating for some children. Learning times tables is often laborious and traditional methods can lack engagement, where as this activity aims to keep the child engaged as there is an element of play. As we are studying the 3 times table, this is the example we will be using in this blog.
As always, although this is a Spielgaben activity, I’ve done my best to provide alternative ways to get involved at the end of this blog, even if you don’t own a Spielgaben yourself. I have also provided free downloadable content for those using other manipulatives. 

I would recommend this activity for children aged 7+ but obviously it doesn’t matter what age your child is as your knowledge on their ability will be more relevant.

All you will need is the Spielgaben Cookie Grid, which is free to download, a pen/pencil, set 9 and set 10 of the Spielgaben. It is not essential but you may want to laminate the cookie grid so you can reuse it multiple times with a dry wipe marker. Another fun optional extra for this activity is a baking tray!

Below I have provided a guided script that I feel works well for us.

Parent: Shall we make some cookies? I will start by making one cookie. I am going to put three chocolate chips onto the cookie. How many cookies are there?

Child: There is one cookie.

Parent: How many chocolate chips are there?

Child: There are three chocolate chips.

(At this point, have your child write a 1 in first cell of the ‘Number of cookies’ row and a 3 in the first cell of the ‘Number of chips’ row)

Parent: Would you like to make another cookie? We need another cookie with three chocolate chips.

(Child makes cookie with three chocolate chips)

Parent: How many cookies do we have altogether now?

Child: We have two cookies.

Parent: So how many chocolate chips do we have altogether now?

Child: We have six chocolate chips.

(As before, have your child write in the next cell along of both the rows with the correct answers. Keep repeating the process of making cookies with chips to work out each mathematical problem. As you work along the grid you may notice your child counting all the chips, if so, help them to see that they don’t need to do this. Have your child look at the grid to see the previous number on the ‘number of chips’ row and simply suggest that they count three up from that – it should save a lot of time) 

Once you have finished playing and you have finished your grid as far as you and your child wish to go, you can use your grid as a reference for the abstract sums (e.g. 5×3=) at a later date. You can also repeat this game until your child can recall the sums from memory.

If you don’t own a Spielgaben then you can download this free Plates And Jelly Beans Printout For Times Tables, all you will need to buy is some jelly beans and the best part is you can snack on them after you’re done playing! Or if you feel you have a bit more time, perhaps you could bake some real cookies and use real chocolate chips!

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