My oldest son is a math nerd and I’ve previously shared some of the math based card games we play, like Tens Go Fish and Make Ten. Last year, my son began to learn about fractions in school. To reinforce his learning and also for fun (because we are nerdy), we’ve been playing a simple math card game called “Reduce It!” Reduce It helps kids recognize which fractions can be reduced (you probably figured that out already, you’re so smart) and gets them practicing simple division skills.
What You Need:
A deck of cards with face cards (Jack, Queen, Kings) removed.
How To Play:
1. Shuffle cards and deal out the entire deck between 2 players, face down.
2. Each player turns over his or her top card and places it in the center of the table. The numbers create a fraction, with the smaller card as the numerator and the higher number as the denominator. (Aces count as 1) For example, if the cards are 4 and 8 the fraction is 4/8.
3. As soon as the cards are revealed, players quickly determine if the fraction can be reduced. For example 4/8 can be reduced to 1/2.
4. As soon as a player determines if the fraction can be reduced, he slaps the cards and calls out “Reduce it!” The first player to correctly slap the cards and reduce the fraction gets to keep the cards, adding them to the bottom of his pile to be played again later. If the player is incorrect, the other player gets to keep the cards.
5. If the fraction can not be reduced, players continue to add new cards until a they form a new fraction that can be reduced. The player who wins that hand gets to keep all the cards.
6. When one player has collected all the cards, the game is over.
Tips for Playing:
Determine ahead of time if a player can slap the cards and call out “reduce it!” either when he recognizes a fraction can be reduced or not until he figures out the reduced fraction.
Since the purpose of playing the game was to practice reducing fractions, it made sense for me to let my son take his time to figure out the reduced fraction after he called out “reduce it!” I let him take as much time as he needed to figure out that 4/8 = 1/2 after slapping the cards. He got a big smile on his face every time he recognized a reduce-able fraction before I did. That lent him confidence and encouraged him to do even better.
We found this wonderful fraction game in the book, Fabulous Fractions: Games, Puzzles, and Activities that Make Math Easy and Fun (this is an affiliate link), which includes all sorts of DIY fraction games at a variety of skill levels.