I tried a new game with James today and he did great with it. It's called, "Roll Two Dice" and that's exactly what you do. You roll two dice, add them up, and record the answer. Simple-yes. Flashcards-no. Building number sense-yes!
The reason why I like this game is because it is repetitive and so he gets lots of practice adding numbers 1-6 and because it encourages certain skills I'm wanting him to use. Here he is counting his dots and recording his work.
The skill I was focusing on today was adding on from the biggest number. For instance, when he rolled this 6 and 3 he knew it was a six and a three (don't play this game if your child has to still count the dots on the dice) so I had him start at the number 6 and add on 3. It sounded like this, "6+3 equals 6, 7, 8, 9. It equals 9".
This is a valuable skill because it's a huge waste of time to start at 3 and then count on 6.
Here's how the game turned out. 5 was the winner and he never rolled two numbers that equaled 2 or 12. At the end of the game I asked him to show me what his dice would look like if he had rolled two numbers that equaled 2. This took him a long time to figure out because he kept wanting to use a zero on one die which of course doesn't exist. Then I asked him what he would need to roll to make 12 and he came up with that pretty quickly.
While he was working I would point out when he rolled numbers that I'll be teaching him a certain skill with. Like when he rolled 3+3 I always said, "Oh look there's a double". Or when he rolled a 6+4 I always said, "Oh look that's a fast ten" (numbers that we can quickly add in our head that always equal ten).
He'll be learning these tricks soon enough so I want him to start hearing the terms: double, double + 1, fast ten, etc.
Eventually I can switch the dice to be numbers instead of dots, but for now he still needs the dots to help him count on.