Brick Brain Games! Designed to support numeracy, literacy & language (without them realising!)

Introduction

Fancy making the time after the school run a little less crazy. Desperation is the true mother of invention and an 18 month gap between my two boys means I’m truly desperate to calm things down πŸ˜‚

This truth, the boys love of Lego and Saturday Maths club have all come together these last few days to bring about some brick games!

Little Lego features heavily but I’ve also taken the opportunity to bring in the most powerful brick of all – link blocks! (πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Sorry, I’m sleep deprived so a bit 🀯πŸ₯³). And also good old duplo. It’s big, it’s tactile and we all still enjoy building with it.

All super speedy to set up, so your returns should generally be greater than your input! And fingers crossed it may just be enough to settle them into their own contented play 🀞🀞🀞

Jumble

Leave them a message but jumble up the letters. I used different colours for each word. I think it would be impossible otherwise!

I stuck masking tape to write letters on which made it take a bit longer to set up – you could use a semi permanent pen or letter stickers to speed it up though.

Mind Reader

Want to encourage reading but they’re not feeling it??

Try this! They follow the instructions on the envelope and then open it up to see if they’re “right”. Kids love opening envelopes so that should be treat enough!

Gets them reading. Gets them thinking. Plus it has plenty of intrigue! And if they make one for you in return, they’re writing too!

Copycat

These link block cubes are brilliant and we used to use them loads for teaching Key Stage 3 maths back in the day. But they’re great for littlies too!

They are super powerful as you can build on all six faces.

I suspect someone told me about this game 20 years ago but I can’t remember who!

Basically I pre-made a few shapes for them to describe to each other while sitting back to back. One child being the describer and one trying to be the maker!

You could get them to make their own shapes to describe to each other and of course you can be the describer or maker – lots of fun!

You could do a similar copying activity with Lego too. It might feel a bit too complicated with all the different sized pieces, but you could always separate some out.

TOP TIP – as you make the shapes, count out the correct pieces and colours for the guesser to make sure that they have enough!

Feely Bag

Not sure about this name! Other suggestions welcome below.

An extension to “Copycat” with an added twist; the person describing the shape hasn’t seen it either and is just feeling it in a bag!

Quite a good one if you’ve not got many cubes left as the colours are not important.

Seeing sums

Visualising times tables “sums” and the corresponding divides will really help your little one grow their Maths understanding. This task links really nicely to the activity in “Help your child with their times tables”.

Strictly speaking a sum is only an “add” calculation (I found out over ten years into Mathematics teaching πŸ™„) but can you let me off for the sake of a decent name for the game?! If not, please make me up a new title πŸ€žπŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

A bit of practice outside the Maths classroom and the competition that exists there is always going to be a good thing.

The aim is that they write down as many multiplication and divide calculations (or “sums” 😬) for each rectangle as they can. Probably more suitable for year 2 and above.

Having said that my middlest is in foundation and quite tenacious about keeping up with big bro, so will have a go with lots of (subtle! 😬 #thinlinetowalk) support.

8 is purposely included twice – I’ll ask them why I might have done this (you can really see the different ways of making and splitting up the number – check out what I’ve done with the different coloured bricks!).

24

Apparently a great TV series? It is also a number with a lot of factors! Which makes it perfect for this activity….

It works as a nice extension to “seeing sums”; the idea being that they move the bricks around to make as many rectangles (and write down as many multiplication and divide calculations) as they can.

FUN FACT – a square is a rectangle too! It’s just special with four equal sides so gets its own name!

There are four rectangles – 8 by 3, 6 by 4, 12 by 2 and 24 by 1 – all of which could be viewed the other way around – 3 by 8, etc.

And while I’m here….

These “Lego” boards are brilliant!

Reasonably priced and they really open up building opportunities and you can make stands to display Lego creations! Not an Ad but love them – have linked here 😁

The circles are way cheaper than the squares – probably smaller but still cool!

TIP – if you do buy them, it’s best to build your stands upside down and then turn them the right way up – it’s way easier to line up where to put the stacks that way. A whole lot of swearing (in my head) before I realised this πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

2 comments

  1. I love these brain games! I can’t wait to do these with my sons. They already love legos. It’s fun so they won’t feel like they are actually learning this summer!

    1. Ah thank you for commenting – means a lot – I hope that you have a lot of fun with them! My boys were really receptive to the envelope one, might try and make them something a bit trickier for tonight πŸ˜€ Although a ditched kitchen to try and sort first!

We would love to hear from you in the comments!