SmartyPants is working on addition and subtraction. I didn’t want him to have to do a million worksheets. He’d start hating math! So, I went on Amazon and found this fun game. Sum Swamp is a game for kids who understand how to add and subtract already, but just need to practice and or memorize the math facts.
Inside the box is a large colorful game board, 4 game pieces, and three dice. The game pieces are shaped like little swamp creatures: a yellow turtle, a blue snake, a red frog, and a green snail. They are cute, but seem a little cheaply made. They almost seem like pencil toppers, but not the eraser kind. To test this theory, I had SmartyPants try to put one on a pencil. Yep, it fit perfectly. So, I don’t know if they were just trying to cut costs by buying pencil toppers, or if it’s just a coincidence that they fit a pencil perfectly. It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as SmartyPants likes the game, and learns his math facts.
There are three dice. Two of the dice are green with white numbers, one through six. The third one is white with plus and minus signs ( + and – ). Therefore, the student will practice addition facts with answers up to 12, and subtraction facts with answers 0 to 5. Subtraction was a little tricky at first. The greater number must come first. Negative numbers are a little too advanced for young children. This
was only a problem the first few times we’ve played it. Now my son knows to put the greater number first.
It is possible to roll a zero and not get to move at all. SmartPants is always so sad when that happens. Although in this picture he refused to make a sad face. We were actually playing and he really did roll that zero, and he still refused to give me a sad face. Little Stinker!
Now onto the unique attributes of the game board.
Dispersed through out the board are squares with the words evens and odds. When you land on one of these squares, you roll a numbered die. If the number is even, and you are on an “evens” square (like in the picture), you get to advance that number of spaces. If you roll an odd, you stay where you are.
The snail in the photo to the left, is on a square with the number 6. When you land on a numbered square, roll the plus/minus die. If you roll a +, you advance the number of spaces written in the square, if you roll a -, you go back that number of spaces. So, the snail in the photo would advance six more spaces.
The last unique aspect of the game is the endless loop. You keep goingaround and around the loop unless you land on the exit square. This is easier than it seems. There is a square with the number 3, so if you land on it and roll +, you will be able to leave the loop. Also, the yellow turtle in the photo is on a number five. If you land on this square either + or – will land you on the exit square. The most I’ve ever gone around the endless loop is four times. Most of the time we get to exit on our second or third time around.
Overall, Sum Swamp is a fantastic game. It is fun, and educational at the same time. Here are the pros and cons:
Pros: Teaches addition and subtraction and odds and evens, fun, colorful, much more fun than a worksheet. durable. Pretty good price, around 15 dollars.
Cons: Are the game pieces pencil toppers? I’m still not sure. The subtraction can get a little confusing if the lesser number is placed before the greater number.