Dinner time is the perfect time for conversations and a great opportunity to engage with your children. The idea of Dinner Time Maths is to add a small spark of maths to the conversation. Discuss a mathematical idea as a family or solve a problem together.

This is a well known, popular puzzle with variations around the world. The aim is to move the yellow koalas from the left to the right and the green koalas from the right to the left. Playing this game over the dinner table will inevitably generate wonderful conversations, help your children to develop problem solving skills and strategies for working as a team.

skipping koalas

The rules:

  • The koalas can only move forwards, they cannot move backwards.
  • They can jump over one koala if there is a free spot behind the koala. They cannot jump over more than one.
  • They cannot share spots.

Playing at the dinner table:

This is the scene and we want to set it up on the dinner table.

We can use coasters or even some small squares of paper to represent the row of seven spots. Then on the coasters or paper tiles we want two teams of objects to represent the yellow and green koalas. We can use small figurines, toy cars, one dollar coins on one side and 50 cent pieces on the other side or even glasses with different coloured napkins in them. The kids will have so much fun working together and discussing strategies.

Once you’ve all worked it out you can try more koalas on each side and even different numbers of koalas on each side.

Our inspiration for Dinner Time Maths comes from Laura Bilodeau Overdeck who is the brainchild of Bedtime Math, a brilliant blog dedicated to providing you with ideas to incorporate a maths problem into every day.

Photo credit: davidsilver / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA