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Beach Ball Math

How you can help at home: Try this game to help your child with basic addition and subtraction facts.

By Linda Eisenger, Consulting Educator

This game reinforces the skill of quickly recalling basic addition and subtraction facts.

What You'll Need:

  • An inflated beach ball
  • Permanent marker (black or dark blue)

Here's How to Do It

Divide the ball into large sections with the permanent marker. In each section write a numeral. Toss the ball to another player or up in the air and catch. Locate the sections in which the player's thumb has landed, and remember the numeral. Toss the ball again and note where the catcher's thumb lands. Add or subtract these numerals. Keep playing!

Extensions of the game

Increase the difficulty by using larger numbers to add and subtract, or by multiplying the numbers.

Linda Eisinger was named the 2005 Missouri State Teacher of the Year. She was also selected by the Boeing Corporation as the 2005 Outstanding Educator. She has received many other accolades including the Outstanding Educator award from the Smarter Kids Foundation in Canada. Linda is a contributing author to the 2007 Brainquest educational game. She serves as the president of her local teachers' association and continues to teach third grade at West Elementary in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Comments from readers

"This is also a great idea for Early Childhood. For Number recognition, shapes. letters of the alphabet etc....It would be a lot of fun."
"This is a great idea. It can be used in many ways such as multiplication and division facts and so on. You can put numbers 0-9 on the ball and have the child place that number in a certain place value. After several catches, the child can read the number and write it in expanded notation. The beach ball can also be used to increase comprehension by putting questions such as; what was the setting of the story? What was the turning point in the story? Problem/solution, cause/effect/ characterization, why do you think this happened, if the story continued what do you think would happen next - why? etc. Grammar can also be practiced. Instead of numbers put parts of speech or write sentences that they have to identify. Try events in history or famous people and their deeds. Crazy art work is also fun. In each section put a shape (geometry) or a part of the body. The person draws that part and the folds the paper so the other players can't see what he/she has drawn. It's funny to see what you come up with. Try this with writing a story also. It's always the best when you can have fun playing only to discover you're learning at the same time!"