Active Learning: Water Balloon Math

Let your kids make a splash -- and soak up some number skills over the summer -- with these simple games.
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Set It Up:

1. Sandwich skewers within folded lengths of duct tape to make four or five flags. With a permanent marker, write numbers (these will be the solutions to the problems, so choose them based on your kids' math skill levels).

2. Lay hula hoops or circles of rope on the ground and insert the flags, as shown.

3. Fill balloons with water (big box stores sell kits with a hose attachment, making this step really easy). On the balloons, write problems with answers that match the flag numbers.

Two Ways to Play:

1. Bomb the Test

Players pick a balloon, then, standing a few feet back, toss it at the target marked with the correct solution. A hit scores a point. The player with the most points wins.

2. Splash Math

Have kids play catch, tossing each balloon the number of times equal to the problem's solution (if the balloon reads "2 + 3," toss it 5 times). Players who drop the balloon get a point (and get wet). The player with the fewest points wins.

Take it Further: Use this idea to practice grammar, too. Label the target flags with parts of speech -- "verb," "noun," "adjective" -- and write words on the balloons.

Originally published in the September 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Family Fun

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