It’s hard to get kids excited about math. At least when they’re young, math is pretty concrete. Addition, subtraction, fractions, multiplication and division can all be seen in every day life as necessities.
But once we get to negative numbers and variables, a lot of kids lose their motivation to work on something that doesn’t seem to have a lot of purpose.
You might be familiar with the game schooling movement. What is game schooling?
Game schooling is a wide definition that generally covers the practice of using games as a consistent resource in one’s educational goals.
Game schooling is getting a lot more attention lately as homeschooling is growing and parents are finding that a school-at-home model isn’t working for their kids. Plus, it’s great fun for parents as well to play educational games with their kids!
Games can be obviously educational, or a bit more subtle. Either way, research shows that kids that use games show improvement in their educational skills.
And for math specifically? Research shows that when kids play a game with a number line, like Creature Quest, show better improvement in:
- Numeral identification
- Number line estimation (in which a child is asked to mark the location of a number on a line)
- Numerical magnitude comparison (in which a child is asked to choose the greater of two numbers)
Jane Healy in Growing Your Child’s Mind sums it up by saying:
“One predictor of a child’s success in elementary school math is how many games he and his family played together.”
Learning this, I wanted to start building our own educational game library, but holy cow, there are a LOT of games to sift through, and it’s hard to decipher which games are total fluff and which have at least a sliver of educational value.
The following is a review for Creature Quest in which I have been compensated for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.
When given the opportunity to review Creature Quest, I jumped at the chance! My Kindergartener already says about math, “I’m never going to use this!”… and that was just while learning subtraction.
Creature Quest in a nutshell:
- Creature Quest teaches kids how positive and negative numbers work
- Helps build and an understanding of the number line along with your child’s spatial skills
- Comes with over 50 cards, pawns, die, board, and short instructions
But what I found really fun about it is that I didn’t have to get into a lecture about negative numbers, or explain how they’d be used in daily life (so hard to explain to someone that only has 6 years of experience in this world). It’s a game. Just play the game.
Get to 24 and you win. Get to -24 and you lose. Simple.
The creator of Creature Quest describes her frustration with math from an early age. This was not my experience. In fact, I loved math! I’ve always been really good at finding patterns and doing math problems. Since it comes naturally to me, I recognize how integral it is for kids to have a good number sense from the very beginning.
2+2=4 means nothing on a sheet of paper.
It means something when you have objects you can touch, or see a number line right in front of you. We’ve been using Right Start Math which takes care of the aspect of having manipulatives, but so far we have not worked with a number line (the abacus in the closest thing). Between Right Start Math and Creature Quest, I feel confident in creating an atmosphere of teaching number sense in a logical and thorough way.
Honestly, I did worry that it would be a bit dry and my kids would be bored of it. My kids are known to just walk away from a game right in the middle of playing if they aren’t interested in it anymore. With the characters and the events describing why they had to move forward or back, both my preschooler and Kindergartener stayed for the whole game. Yay!
You can tell a lot of love and care went into making this game. It’s a simple design and incredibly easy to learn.
You can buy Creature Quest from the parent site, Amazing Wiz Kids, which has a nice variety of educational toys and games for all ages. Some games on the site you won’t find anywhere else, like Creature Quest!
Middle Way Mom readers also get $10 off with the code MIDDLEWAY!! Awesome!!