I would like to continue my thoughts from yesterday's post, where I did a crash course on the hierarchies and the colors that represent them in the Montessori materials.

The Stamp Game is such a favorite and for good reason. It is simple and concrete enough for pre-school children to use with fluency, but it is also used by elementary school children for calculating the four operations, and then can be extended to squaring and square root.

Yesterday we shared a link for a simple, free printable Stamp Game, which I hope you all can use, if you don't have the option of buying or making the Stamp Game otherwise. So, now that you have it, what can you do with it??

The first concept that we present to children is that of exchanging. By counting through the ones, we find that after 9, we get to 10. But ten is the blue tile! That means we need to exchange our 10 green ones for 1 blue ten tile. 

There's a great game children can play using the Stamp Game and a die (as in, the singular form of dice). Working with a friend or two, they can take turns throwing the die and collecting that number from the "bank" of stamps. However, they must remember that if they have 10 in a hierarchy, they much exchange for 1 in the next hierarchy!  The repetition in an activity like this helps to reinforce the concept of exchanging between hierarchies, something that will become essential for further arithmetic work.

Now, that being said, this is hardly a game only for younger children! We love playing this with older children, but you just need to make it slightly more challenging. For instance:

  • use 2 dice and they have to add the two numbers together first, before collecting the stamp tiles
  • use 2 dice, but now you have to multiply the two numbers together before collecting the corresponding stamp tiles. (Of course, this will get them quickly into hundreds and eventually thousands.)
  • use 2 multifaceted dice and add or multiply them together. Here you can even get into adding/subtracting or multiplying with negative numbers, if you can find dice with a few negatives on them.

Do you see how your imagination is the limit here? And best of all, it's fun!! Children are having a great time playing a game, while all the time practicing their basic arithmetic. Win, win...

Now, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I have created yet another extension of this basic game for my own children. The key here was to incorporate movement into the activity, and give my older guys a bit of a challenge as well. So using my abundance of hobby foam, I cut them into slightly larger squares (which also double as a checkerboard... more on that another day). I also found 3 colored dice. You guessed it: green, blue and red.

Rather than going on and on trying to explain it in this blog post, I've popped it all into a downloadable just for you. Hope you can enjoy it at home with your kids, and I especially hope that you are able to go outside during this time of social distancing!

In case you can't get outside, try a variation of the game inside. This is my daughter and I are testing out the concept, minus the relay-running ;) Still fun! 

Hope you try this and remember to leave your comments below to let us know how it went. 

Good luck, enjoy. And stay safe!!!