The dice game Yatzee is great for older children to work on sums. But what about younger children? Yahtze is just too complicated for those just starting out with math. I toyed with the idea of modifying Yahtzee for younger children but came up blank. But then I hit upon a simple two-dice game that my five-year-old has enjoyed.
Here is the simplest version of the game. A player roles a single die to determine the action and then rolls two dice to determine the score for the turn. The first role sets the scoring rule as follows, as applied to the subsequent roll of two dice:
1: Add the numbers (the top numbers in all cases).
2: Subtract the numbers.
3: 0 points.
4: Multiply the numbers (simpler variant: Double the larger number showing).
5: Double the sum of the numbers.
6: Lose 5 points.
Then you add the score from your turn to your total score. That’s basically it. Players take turns and either play until one player surpasses a certain total score within a round of turns (say, 100) or until every player takes the same number of turns (say, 10).
Obviously the simple version of the game is pure luck. To add a bit of strategy, adapt the rules as follows. On the first role, the player can either accept the outcome or re-role (once). On the role of two dice, the player can either accept the outcome or re-role one die (once).
For kids a little more advanced, I do enjoy Yahtzee as a family game (available through Amazon—paid link). Such games are a fun way to give kids a bit more basic math practice.