Normally my kids can spot an educational game a mile away. When faced with playing an educational game or doing their regularly scheduled schoolwork, I'd say the game has barely a 50/50 chance of being picked. I was pleasantly surprised at the reception our new deck of Pyramath cards received when it arrived last month.
I was busy unpacking moving boxes when the kids opened the package. A few minutes later, they wanted to take a break and help them figure out the rules. Basically, Pyramath combines math facts with solitaire. It can either be played solo or head-to-head with an opponent. A card is played between the two cards above it if the two upper numbers can be added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided to get the new number. For two-digit answers, you only pay attention to the digit in the units column.
I watched them play the first few games. At one point, Brennan leaned over to me and whispered, "She could've used that 3. It would have gone between the 5 and the 7 because 5+7=13." I think it was a good thing that we were practicing math facts during our summer vacation.
In addition to practicing basic facts, both of my children developed strategies to increase the odds of winning. For instance, they recommend working across the row of cards instead of just downward. They also realized that certain numbers (for instance 0) weren't as helpful as others.
Over the course of several weeks, Brennan somehow managed to win all of the head-to-head matches against Addison and a whole lot of the ones where he challenged me. Addison eventually decided that she'd rather play the solitaire version so that she didn't have to hear her brother gloat.
I See Cards also developed a free online version of Pyramath. I will warn you, though, that it can be quite addictive. I may eventually introduce my children to the online version, but for now I'll probably stick to the cards. I particularly like the way that I can just toss them in my tote bag so that we can be productive when we get stuck waiting somewhere.
There are a few other card games available on their website. I just placed an order for their Fractazmic cards. Brennan will be starting fractions sometime in the next few weeks, and I know we'll find the game to be an enjoyable way to reinforce his regular math lessons.
Bottom line: When both of my big kids give an educational game a "two thumbs' up" rating, you can't go wrong. I would highly recommend this game to all of my friends -- both homeschool families and not. It's an enjoyable way to fit in the practice that all kids need to stay sharp with their math skills.
If you'd like to see what my fellow crew members thought, be sure to check out The Old Schoolhouse Crew blog.