Blog home

Rainy Day Math Activities

Rainy Day Math Activities

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - December 17th, 2013


It’s that time of year with rainy days and snowy days keep children in doors! What are you supposed to do with your little bundles of energy during rainy days that isn’t TV? There are a lot of fun games you can play on rainy days that help build crucial math skills. There is a golden opportunity to teach your child math skills with a mancala board on rainy days! In today’s post, I will tell you about how you can build crucial math skills with your child while keeping him entertained from the rainy day.

A great way to help build math skills is to make your own mancala board, and play!

What You Need

cardboard egg carton


acrylic paints and brush (optional)

48 dried beans, pebbles or beads

2 small glass jars

What to Do

1. Carefully tear or cut the lid from the carton. Throw the lid away.

2. If you wish, paint and decorate the carton. Wait for the paint to dry.

3. Place 4 beans in each of the 12 cups. Place a jar at either end of the carton. Called a kalaha, it is where you will store any captured beans. Find a friend and get ready to play.

How to Play

Object of the Game: To finish with the most beans

1. Set the mancala board on a table so that six cups face you and six cups face your opponent. The cups nearest to you are yours. You can move any of the beans from your side, but you may not move your opponent’s. The kalaha on your right is yours as well.

2. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Player A scoops all the beans from any one of the cups on her side. Moving counterclockwise to the right, she goes down the board, dropping one bean into each cup. If she reaches her kalaha, she drops a bean in it as well. If it’s her last bean, she gets another turn. Otherwise, it’s Player B’s turn.

3. Play continues with the following rules.

– A player cannot drop a bean into the opposing player’s kalaha.

– When the last bean a player drops falls into an empty cup, that player gets to take that bean and all the beans from the cup directly opposite.

4. The game ends when a player runs out of beans in the cups on her side. When this happens, the opposing player takes the remaining beans. The winner is the player with the most beans in her kalaha.

Another fantastic way to build math skills during a rainy day is to play guessing games!

Heres an example of what it might look like:

Let your child think of a number between a stated range of numbers while you try to guess the number by asking questions. Here is a sample conversation.
Child: I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100.
Parent: Is it more than 50?
Child: No.
Parent: Is it an even number?
Child: No.
Parent: Is it more than 20 but less than 40?
Child: Yes.
Parent: Can you reach it by starting at zero and counting by 3’s?
Child: Yes.
(At this stage, your child could be thinking of 21, 27, 33, or 39.)

Share this article

Tell us about your experiences

Need help? - Contact Support