Math is beautiful. I’ve always known this, but I feel like this fact is somehow missed by the general population. Prime Climb is the closest I have seen to a math game that illustrates the simplistic, beautiful elegance of numbers. I love that it could be played by little kids who can count to 10 all the way to adults. The one disadvantage is that it is not really fun for people of varying abilities. However, for kids 10 and older, I think this is the most fun way I have found to practice basic math facts.
Prime Climb Info
Product: Prime Climb
Company: Math for Love
Recommended Age Range: 9 to adult (Preferably, kids should be familiar with multiplication tables and be able to multiple a 2 digit number by a single digit number. Younger kids can play, but they will be at a disadvantage.)
Price Range: ~$25-30 (check Rainbow Resource in addition to Amazon)
Amazon Product Page (Affiliate Link)
Usually, I like to only play games that our whole family can play, including the preschooler and kindergartner. With most games it is easy to adapt the rules to make it such that the younger kids have fun too. This is not one of those games. As long as kids can add, they are able to play. If everyone was playing by the addition and subtraction only rules, they would probably enjoy it. However, with some kids multiplying and some kids not, this creates problems.
Therefore, this is one of the few games that I find time to play with only my big kids. I do this because it is SUCH good math practice. The rules to this game are astonishingly simple. You start at 0 and the object of the game is to get both of your pawns to exactly 101. They can’t overshoot.
You need to combine the number you are on with the number on your dice to determine where you move next. For example, if you are on space 14 and you roll a 7, you could add 7 to move to 21, you could multiply by 7 to move to 98, you could subtract 7 to move to 7, or you could divide by 7 to move to 2. Obviously, you would probably want to multiply in that case.
The way the game tends to play out is that there is a lot of multiplying in the beginning, a lot of adding near the end and then once you are too close to 101 and are not able to land on it exactly, some subtracting. If someone lands on you and send you back to start, it is not a big deal, because you can get back up near 101 in just a turn or two if you roll big numbers.
There is also an incentive to land on a prime numbers. When you land on a prime number (all in red) you get to draw a card, which benefits the player that drew the card more often than their opponents. For this reason, adults often do complicated mathematical processes involving subtraction and add division to try to land on primes. So far, my kids seem to just have a one track mind about getting to 101.
The final reason why I love Prime Climb is that it is a fantastic way to help kids understand prime factors. While you don’t need to understand factors at all to play the game, the board is a beautiful illustration of the prime factors within each number. The colors of the circles around each number represent the prime factors that go into that number.
Even though we had been playing Prime Climb for over a year at the time, when I started studying factor trees with my oldest, I was inspired to pull out the game. He finally understood the game board on a whole new level and thought it was really cool.
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