Get Those Math Skills on Target

Get Those Math Skills on Target

October 6, 2014

There’s a reason the cardboard box is in the National Toy Hall of Fame. You’d be hard pressed to find a more open-ended toy. I can’t resist them, either – even when they’re not mine! A neighbor was getting rid of a large box the other day and I happily took it off his hands. While a cardboard box can be turned into just about anything, I had very specific plans for this one: a math target game.

A math target game board combines two things kids universally love: a chance to throw things and a game to play. Add to that my love of upcycling items destined for the trash and a chance to build math skills and we’re right on target for a perfect project!

Math Target Game

Once you’ve got your box, you’ll need to find several bowls or other circle-shaped objects to use as templates for your targets. Sure, you can ask the kids to find circles of different sizes. I like to be more specific and ask them to find circles with different circumferences or diameters, giving them a chance to get comfortable with common math terminology.

Place your circle templates on the box, leaving enough room in between the circles so that your box still has plenty of good support to it – we’re not aiming for Swiss cheese here! Trace around them and then cut them out.

Now assign a point value to each target. Practice counting by ones, fives or tens, and assign your points that way. You can use stickers, markers, or paint to label each target with a point value.

That’s it; you’re ready to play! I love this craft because it’s so versatile. You can try throwing or shooting all kinds of objects at your targets – footballs, tennis balls, ping pong balls, bean bags, Nerf darts, paper airplanes, acorns, you name it! If you think it will fit through the target, give a shot.

There are many ways you can play, too:

  • Decide a point value to play up to and keep track of how many points each player gets until one of them hits the magic number.
  • See who can get the most objects in a target in a row.
  • Get out the yard stick or measuring tape and mark how far back you need to be to hit the targets. Every time you make a shot, move back a foot.

As for the objects you throw, pay attention to the path they take in the air. Do you notice that they all follow a curved, or parabolic, path? The shape of the curve will be different based on the angle, speed and rotation of the object. Thanks to gravity, what goes up must come down! Gauge the arc and speed of the different objects correctly and you’ll be right on target!

Does target practice have you aiming to include more fun math games in your life? Don’t miss the newest free printable activity guide on Bedtime Math, featuring Silly Circus Math Games!

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