A recent study suggests that children who regularly play simple guessing or probability games can help assist them with traditional math problems. Here is some research from the University of Illinois that back up those claims.

Simple Number Games Research

Number games dramatically Boost Math Performance

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that young students who regularly practiced simple, instinctual numbers exercises, approximations, and comparison sets without actually counting performed better on arithmetic tests compared to the control group.

The research team, led by UI Psychology Professor Daniel Hyde, asked first-grade students to perform tasks that required individual approximations or to roughly guess the number of objects in a particular set. Think of it like guessing how many dots on a piece of paper.

Other tests helped isolate this particular factor in achieving higher test scores, like higher motivation or level of engagement with the exercise. The researchers purposefully gave the subjects tests with different levels of difficulty and a verbal test for comparison, which showed no particular increase in results.

This is a strong indicator towards the benefits of simple reasoning, measurement, and number sense exercises and games. When combined with group activities and probability exercises, math-specific games that meet Common Core standards like Mango Math can be a great asset to early learning and encourage greater learning in later years. Check out some of our primary grade lessons which has students recognizing groups of numbers in a number of different games. Games like More or Less, Nurtle the Turtle, Blink all require students to look at objects and determine how many are there. Rolling dice and understanding what number each dot configure represents also benefits math skills.