The Christmas holiday is rooted in math. Don’t believe me? Here’s some indisputable evidence:
- We have the “12 Days of Christmas”
- Santa has 8 reindeer (+ Rudolph of course!)
- We countdown to Christmas
- There were 3 Wise Men
As I said, indisputable. With the holidays comes additional family time. Build relationships and early math skills by playing games together. Use these fun, holiday-themed games to get in the Christmas spirit!
Holiday Number Path Game
Number path games are great for building foundational number concepts and developing a mental number line.
The game itself is simple: Players take turns rolling the die/using the spinner to determine how many spaces to move their token. The first player to the end of the board wins!
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- Board template: Print out this snazzy holiday template I made (pictured above) or create your own template on a piece of paper. If you’re creating your own, the key is for the numbers to be equally spaced apart. To build in some physical movement, you can create a life-size board using kitchen tiles or the sidewalk!
- Die or spinner with #1-3: Create your own out of paper or a blank cube, or use an online simulator.
- Tokens: These are the pieces each player moves across the board. These can be anything: coins, game pieces from another game, a Lego character – let your child choose!
- Crayons or markers: To decorate and color the board.
Once you’ve made the board and the spinner/die, you’re ready to play! Read my previous post Math Games for Young Mathematicians: Number Path Games to find specific strategies you can use to bring out the math while playing.
Christmas Tree Tangram
Tangrams are puzzles that arrange a set of 7 shapes into an outlined image, and they are perfect for building early understandings of shape and spatial awareness.
You can use these free, printable Christmas tree tangrams from Super Coloring! This beginner puzzle uses the shape outlines as a support, and the classic version provides the overall outline of the tree. If you don’t have tangrams, you can cut out your own from this template or buy some here (stocking stuffers anyone?).
Holiday Pattern Block Puzzles
Pattern block puzzles are similar to tangrams because they use shapes to fill in a puzzle outline. Unlike tangrams, you can use multiple copies of the same shape. For example, the wreath pattern puzzle below uses multiple triangles.
Find free printouts of a variety of holiday puzzles here, from PreKinders – just scroll to the bottom of the page. If you don’t already have pattern blocks, you can cut out your own from this template or buy them here (they’re on sale right now!).
Read my previous post Math Games for Young Mathematicians: Pattern Block Puzzles to find specific strategies for bringing out the math while playing.
- Choose one of the above math games to try out this holiday season! Use the links to ensure that you have all of the materials you need, and check out my previous posts for specific strategies to use while playing: Math Games for Young Mathematicians: Pattern Block Puzzles and Math Games for Young Mathematicians: Number Path Games.
- I’d love to know how your holiday math games go! Share pictures or stories with me through email, Facebook, or Instagram.
- Questions on how to play any of the games? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.