Last night DS went to bed early (he hadn’t napped) and DH joined him (had an early morning flight to San Fran today), which left me and DD the chance to play a board game together. She chose her favorite, “Vancouveropoly”, which is a variation on Monopoly using local places.
We had an excellent game, and this time she seemed open to the idea of losing money as well as gaining it. I charged her for properties and then showed her how to use the different denominations of money to pay for things. She grasped the concept immediately. I could tell her “this costs two hundred dollars” and she would hand me two $100 bills. She also learned what “change” is, and how you can use bigger bills to pay for things and then get money back (not getting that the net transaction results in a loss of money, she was quite excited with this). We actually got to the point where we were each able to buy houses for our properties, and she got that the house price had to be distributed among three properties (eg. three houses at $100 each cost $300 and that gives you one house for each of the three spots).
Rolling the dice was also instructive. She used to ask me to tell her what the two numbers added up to, but now insists on counting them herself. And while I know she’s far and away from understanding probability, she did seem to get that rolling doubles was something special, and the more often she rolled them the more special it was (the kid was on a serious doubles streak last night; I should take her to Vegas).
We made it fairly far into the game before things started to deteriorate (and it was bedtime), and I enjoyed myself and enjoyed watching her learning while not realizing she was learning. Seeing how easy it is to incorporate mathematical concepts into play makes me marvel at how efficiently schools manage to suck the joy out of math and reduce it to a mind-numbing chore.