Today was another awesome PlusPlus day. Years ago I bought a 300-piece basic set of these little guys at the Museum of Math in NYC (but they are also sold on Amazon). Since then we’ve been using them pretty regularly for all sorts of activities:
Light, small and colorful, these are excellent counters and place-holders. Lately they’ve come in especially handy for building multiplication models. We’ve also used them to role-play all sorts of arithmetic and algebra problems.
Here’s one quick game – pick 10 PlusPlus pieces in a range of colors and give them to your child. Prepare another set of 10 exactly like the first one and keep it for yourself. Now, build a chain out of your PlusPlus pieces and ask your child to look at it very carefully, trying to memorize the sequence. After a few seconds, cover your chain and ask your child to rebuild it from memory.
We also used PlusPlus creations as counters in various geography and history games. Here the gray PlusPlus markers point to the areas with the Knights Templar castles.
2D and 3D mini-sculpture
Over the years Rocket Boy and his friends had made all sorts of wonderful creations with this set. They started with maps. Usually those were Minecraft maps. Oh, and swords, lots of swords.
But they also built owls, pokemon, pigs, robots, and much more.
One of the first games that Rocket Boy and I invented together was a story-teller game. We built a rectangular frame out of PlusPlus pieces, all the colors mixed together. It became the boundary of our fantasy playing field. Then we’d take turns filling in the frame, creating a map. Once the map was done, we took turns populating the world with creatures, trees, buildings. Our rule was the new addition had to start with a PlusPlus piece of a color that would match the color of the map where it’s being placed. And it had to contribute to our world’s story.
Not all the games Rocket Boy comes up with are so peaceful and collaborative. Many are very action-packed, like the spin-off of a pen-and-paper Drawing War game. He uses PlusPlus pieces as TIE fighters and X-wings and for the Death Star’s tractor beam (which spins at random on its turn).
For Rocket Boy it’s important to keep his hands busy while he’s listening to a story. So we have a few fidget toys, like silly putty, squishy balls, etc. PlusPlus turned out to be a fantastic fidget toy too!
If you’d like to share the way your children use PlusPlus, post a comment and I’ll be happy to add your ideas to this collection.