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Practice Makes Permanent and Games Make it Fun!

Practice Makes Permanent and Games Make it Fun! Sometimes kids just need to drill something until they've got it. This blog post describes a fun game that makes practice more fun!
I started playing a game during Math the other day that I hadn't played in years!

We were practicing skip counting in my second grade class, and I realized a lot of these kids really need to practice skip counting a whole lot!

After all, research on brains and learning tells us that practice makes permanent. (This is good if they're practicing the skill correctly, not so good if they're practicing the skill incorrectly! I suspect we all know the pain of unlearning a bad habit!)

So in order to practice the skill of skip counting, I remembered this game:  Countdown!

The children stand in a circle. The teacher decides which numbers will be repeated for the game. To start, we counted by 5s from 5 to 35. A child was chosen to start the game by calling out "five". The children went around the circle calling out the next number in the sequence. Whoever said 35 would sit down. They repeat the sequence, eliminating the "35" person each time, until there is only one left standing, the winner!

Luckily, they enjoy the game, so they're glad to repeat it, with variations on the counting pattern! Plus, brain research tells us that adding an emotional element (fun) improves the memory!

This game works for ANY sequence that needs to be learned. Here are some examples:

  • the seven continents
  • the states of matter
  • the seasons
  • the times tables
  • prime numbers
I'll bet you can think of more! What are your ideas?

In case you're interested, I've written these directions out so you can download and put them in your files!  Just click the image!


  1. Played the 35 game on Friday when we had a few minutes. They loved it! Didn't even realize we were working on math skill. I am going to try it with some more stuff. Thanks a bunch!

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  4. This is awesome- thanks for sharing! I'll use it in third grade to practice multiples.


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