four square court
Games,  Math

Skip Count Four Square: A High Engagement Multiplication Game

Raise your hand if you remember Four Square. Oh yeah baby, this game is another super easy game to prep. All you need is a few Four Square balls* and some sidewalk chalk*. Then all your kiddos need to come prepared with is a beginning knowledge of skip counting or multiples of numbers! I’m counting this as a level 2 on the teacher prep scale meaning some prep because there are some materials that you need to either purchase or borrow from your P.E. teacher.

Before we get into the game…check out my blog on my favorite YouTube videos for skip counting. If you’re pulling out all the engagement stops, song really help kids remember how to skip count for those tricky numbers like 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. I can say from personal experience, if some of my lowest kiddos only took away one thing, it was this skip counting song for 3’s by Powerdot Math. I would walk around the room during assessment time and hear them humming the tune of that song to answer a question.

Let’s get those hearts racing and kids out of those seats for this game! This would be an awesome guided recess activity and a great activity to ramp up those fact fluency skills.

Group your Students & Game Set Up

Students should be grouped into 4 groups and use the chalk to draw a Four Square on pavement outside of your school or on the recess area. If you don’t have pavement, another option would be to use landscaping spray paint that you can find at Home Depot or any other home improvement store. (Of course, ask your building manager about the spray paint first!) The spray paint will not come off of the pavement, but if you use it on grass or dirt it will wash away or get mowed away.

Check out the SquareFour.org website for official Four Square game set up guidelines if you are particular about regulation size playing courts. Or you could have kids use their perimeter skills and create 4 connected squares with a side length of 8 ft for each square, 16 ft side lengths for the entire game area. Or if you’re super lucky, like my kiddos, your school will already have Four Square courts on the pavement.

Each team needs 1 ball that bounces.

How to Play

Have each student for each group stand in one of the four corners of the Four Square court.

The purpose of the game is to see how high students can go by skip counting with speed. For this example, the students will start with 3s. The first student will say “1 group of 3 is 3” and then bounce the ball to another player. Whoever catches the ball has 5 seconds to say the next number of skip counting and then bounce the ball to someone new. The ball has to bounce only once in the square of the person who the ball is going to next.

If possible, I would try and set up as many courts as you can so everyone can play at the same time. If that is not possible because of space, I would have students who are not currently in the game, buddy up with a partner in the square and be their side-line coach. They can whisper answers. Then if they don’t say it after 5 seconds, their buddy can jump in and keep the game going.

To keep the interest high, challenge the students to different facts, reaching a high number like 100, or see who can reach a certain number in under 1 minute.

Options for Students to Practice

  • Faster game: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, etc.
  • 1 group of 3 is 3; 2 groups of 3 is 6; 3 groups of 3 is 9; etc.
  • 1 times 3 equals 3; 2 times 3 equals 6; etc.
  • 3 divided by 3 equals 1; 6 divided by 3 is 2; etc.
  • Addition facts work well, too!
  • Making groups of 10: 1 + 9; 5 + 5; 2 + 8; etc.

This game will work great to get all parts of the brain moving and their bodies wiggling and out of those chairs! Let me know what your students think of the game. I can’t wait to try this when school starts up in August!

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