Learning Place Value

A week ago, my husband brought home a dice game called Farkle. The game is simple enough that our 5-year-old was able to play along but the scoring uses big numbers. It takes 10,000 points to win. Which made it perfect for using an abacus for each of us to keep track of our scores. We have simple ones that we made from popsicle sticks, bamboo skewers, and pony beads. We have several that were made more than a decade ago, such as the one with colorful beads, that was made in 2007 as well as one my 5-year-old made recently with more somber colored beads (because that’s all that were available at that moment). We used markers to label place values from the ones to the thousands, so they were perfect. It took our five year old to figure out how to keep score, but with some coaching, he soon figured it out. The idea of trading ten 10’s for one 100, or ten 100’s for one 1,000 may not be something he fully gets yet, but I know that when it comes time to teach him about borrowing and carrying (or regrouping, if you prefer the more modern terminology), it will make a lot of sense to him as he will have been doing it for quite some time in score keeping.


Alternate titles: Laying the foundations for more advanced math skills. The value of playing games. Learning math without published curriculum.

Game rules (or buy the game–but you really only need six dice for it as we learned after playing it): https://www.dicegamedepot.com/farkle-rules/



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