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Some days, we push too hard. We want the day to go as planned. We want to finish everything on the books. We want to stay on task.
But it just ain’t happenin’.
On those days, I have a backup plan. We can have fun while continuing to learn. My favorite ways to do so are with hands on learning, board games and educational movies.
Over the years, I’ve acquired several educational board games that we’ve all grown to love. Yet I’m always on the lookout for a new, fresh game to add to our collection. When I was offered the latest math game to hit the market, I knew I would love it.
And, as usual, I was right. 😉
Say Cheese Cafe did not disappoint!
It had been one of those days.
You know the kind.
Miss Manners wasn’t being so polite and Miss Bookworm would’ve gladly retreated to her room to read her latest book. However, Mr. Man was off work for the day and I wasn’t about to miss out on some family time so I decided to pull a game from the closet and change the tone of the day.
Within minutes, we were getting started on our new game from Logic Roots. “Say Cheese Cafe” is an exciting new way to reinforce the multiplication table.
How to Play:
The rules for Say Cheese Cafe are simple and easy to follow, making it fun for all ages.
The coins are divided evenly among the players and placed in their respective pouch. The first player spins the spinner, which has 2 numbers in each space. The player gets to decide which of the 2 numbers will be played that round. For instance, the spinner has “5, 9” so the player gets to choose between 5 and 9.
I like this for 2 reasons:
- First, the kids complain less when they have a choice. I can imagine they would whine if they got a “harder” number, like 8. Giving them the option to choose which number they want makes them feel more independent.
- Secondly, it’s nice for kids to be able to choose a number they are more familiar with. A younger child, who is just learning their multiplication tables, could use the “easier” numbers to build their confidence. Choosing 2, 5, or 10 seems to excite them, as they know they can do those multiples with no trouble.
Let’s pretend our number is 5 for the first round. The first player chooses the first coin from their pouch and places it in the basket. If it is a multiple of 5, they say “CHEESE!” If they can correctly recite the multiplication fact, they get to keep all of the contents in the basket. These coins are called the “Winnings” and will be kept separate from the coins in your pouch. The second player would go next, doing the same. If the coin is not a multiple of 5, you go to the next player. Continue to play until one player runs out of coins in their pouch. The other players will continue to play until they run out of coins in their pouches.
If a player recited the wrong multiplication fact, they lose their chance to collect the winnings and must add a coin to the basket. The next player has the chance to give the correct multiplication fact and earn the winnings from the basket.
Rotten Coin: If a player plays a “Rotten Cheese Coin” the contents of the basket must be emptied into the trash bin. No one likes stinky, moldy cheese! Throw it out!
Instruction Coins: These coins are simple and make the game that much more fun. Follow the instructions and collect 1, 2 or 3 coins from each player. Once the player has collected their coins, they spin the spinner and choose a new number to be played.
Dessert Coins: Did you know mice love dessert even more than cheese? Yep, it’s true! If you draw a dessert coin from your pouch, just toss it into the basket and continue to play. The coins are worth more points at the end of the game.
After everyone is out of coins in their pouch, you will add up the value of your winnings. Whoever has the most points wins the game! Remember, dessert coins are worth MUCH more than cheese coins!
Why I love the game:
Not only does the game make learning your multiplication facts fun, but it also keeps them on their toes, watching for other players to make a mistake. This keeps them thinking throughout the entire game, not just on their turn.
Learning doesn’t have to be boring.
It doesn’t have to be mundane and involve a workbook.
It’s a proven fact that kids learn better when they’re enjoying the process. By adding fun and excitement to math, we can teach our kids to love learning math. It needs to start at a young age, before they world tells them that math is boring. With new approaches, like board games, kids will learn to love math instead of despise it.
One thing I loved about the game was that the prime numbers are pizza coins, while composite numbers are cheese pasta coins. This subtly makes kids remember which numbers are prime, without even trying!
As you know, I love anything that takes a hands-on approach to my kids’ education. We have tried several methods for learning our multiplication facts but were still struggling. With the kids begging to play “Say Cheese Café” every day, it won’t be long until we’ve mastered our times tables.
I did find a few coins that could be 2 different numbers, depending on which way you held them. Our first few times playing the game, I made my kids figure out if either number could be was a factor of that round’s number. While this does provide a little more practice, Miss Manners didn’t like going through 2 sets of multiplication facts for the same coin. I simply added a black line to the bottom of each coin to underline the number. This erased all doubt as to which number the coin had and took about 3 seconds to do.
I am sure we will be playing this game for years to come! My kids love it and I love that it isn’t “cheesy.” It’s not an in-your-face type of learning. I don’t tell my kids we are doing math. We play this during family game nights. We play for fun after we’ve completed school work. We play when we need to reset our days. The kids don’t think of it as a learning tool or another one of mom’s annoying educational games but instead as something they enjoy playing.
In fact, they’re begging to play now, so I’ll wrap this up!
Looking for more fun ways to play “Say Cheese Café?” Be sure to check out this multiplication game details for helpful ideas, printables, tips and new strategies.
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