A few years back, my sister introduced me to this game called “Double Shutter”. It’s a simple game, where you have two rows of tiles with numbers on them. 1-9 in the front row and 9-1 in the back row. You roll two dice, and and add up the dots to shut the tiles of your choice. So if you roll a 4 and 2, you can either flip down the 6 in the front row, the 4 and 2 in the front row, or any other combination of numbers that add up to 6.
After playing at it my sisters house, I liked it so much, I bought one for myself. Max has always taken a liking to the game. Not sure if it’s the bright red tin that the game come in, or what it is. But since we got it, he always wants to play around with it. Obviously, when he was 18 months old, he just liked flipping the tiles and didn’t understand the game. Over the weekend, it was raining on Saturday, and Max was a little bored. After his shower, he asked if we could play “that dice game”. So I got the game out. All the other times, he would just roll the dice and flip the tiles around. But this time things were different!
Max rolled the dice, and I asked him to tell me the value on each of the die. I was pleasantly surprised that he could identify the number of dots pretty much by site. He would look down and see 3 dots and know it was 3 dots, without counting them. That was a nice surprise in itself. At first, I kept the game simple, and if he rolled a 3 and 1, I would have him flip down 3 and 1. As we played a few rounds, if the 3 and 1 were already flipped down, I would say to Max, 3 and 1 make 4, so flip down the 4. He caught on really quickly and started adding the dice up. If the numbers were small, 2 and 1, 2 and 2, 3 and 1 etc, he could do the math in his head. When we rolled bigger numbers (4 and 6, 5 and 5 etc), he would count the dots.
We never really had any “formal” adding lessons. He’s played a few games on the iPad and read a few books that have examples of adding things up, but it’s not something we really focussed on. So I was really surprised and impressed at how quickly he picked up the concept.
Rachel walked into the room when Max and I were playing and heard him say “3 and 1 equals 4”. She looked equally as shocked as me. I’ll have to keep this in mind as Max learns more and more complex things. Find fun and creative ways to teach him, without him really knowing he is learning. As we rolled the dice, all he cared about was playing one more game. He was having fun, and I was having fun watching him and I could see all the pieces of the puzzle come together, as he grasped more and more of the concept of the game. One of countless times when Max has made me one proud Papa.