Sit 'n Spin Math

Remember the Sit ’n Spin? Hours of dizzy fun were spent with that beloved toy as a kid, so naturally when I had kids of my own it was one of the first toys on my must-purchase list.
Even the littlest of my kids has outgrown the Sit ’n Spin, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it yet. 

There are some toys that, when you give them away, it’s like admitting your kids are growing up. I refuse!

Now that it’s back to school and back to homework, (and since I am obviously on a laminating kick), I’m using the Sit ’n Spin to make practicing math a tad more fun for my grade schoolers.

Here’s how:

Prep:

  1. Cut 12 or so triangles out of construction paper.
  2. Write “Say a Number” on one triangle.
  3. Write addition and subtraction tasks on the rest of the triangles (“Subtract 10,” “Add 1,” “Add 20” etc based on the math level of your students).
  4. Laminate (optional) and cut out the triangles.
  5. Tape the “Say a Number” triangle and 3 of the other triangles to the seat of the Sit N’ Spin, so that they point out like arrows, spaced evenly around the circle.

Play:

  • Up to 4 players sit in a circle around the Sit N’ Spin.
  • The youngest player gets to spin first.
  • When the wheel stops, each player has to perform the math task that is pointing at them, starting with the player who has to “Say a Number.” That student will say any number they want (or a number within a range if you designate one). Then, play will move to the left around the circle. For instance, if the first player said the number “2” and the task pointing at you says “Subtract 2,” then you have to answer “Zero.” Each player builds upon the number the previous player said, so the next player, whose card says “Add 20” will answer “20.” And so on.
  • Once everyone has answered, the player who said the number gets to spin.
  • For a competitive twist, points can be awarded for correct answers, and a winner can be declared when a certain number of points has been achieved. The person calling the number can automatically receive points, or have their opportunity to earn points skipped, depending on how tough your kids are. :)
  • After a few rounds, the three task triangles can be swapped out for new math tasks, using the remaining triangles you created. You can design your cards so they increase in difficulty with each round if you like!
  • For younger players, laying out a number line can aid them in answering questions.

I’m sure there are a hundred ways you can tweak this game and make it your own. It’s a simple way to repurpose a toy that most people have and extend its usefulness for a little while longer! A word of warning: I can almost guarantee your 9-year-old will try to ride it before the game is over. Wait, just mine?

Posted on September 2, 2015 and filed under Building Your Family.