Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 13th 2012
Ways To While Away The Hours
Without numbers the universe would not be able to exist. Maths may be some kids' most hated subject at school (it certainly was mine), but once you leave behind all those fractals and algebraic equations behind, playing with numbers can be quite fun.
Rummikub was invented by the Romanian Jew, Ephraim Hertzano in the 1930s. A two to four player game, it is basically a mix between the card game rummy, and the Chinese tile game, Mah-johng.
My mum is not much of a fan of board games, but this is one that she does enjoy. Each player picks up fourteen tiles, which are numbered between 1 and 13 in different colours. As with card games, the aim is to lay your tiles down in sets or runs, and be the first person to get rid of all your tiles.
Triominoes is like dominoes, only with triangular tiles. There are a number of variations you can play, from a solitaire game, trying to create certain shapes, to different group games. One way is to play by point scoring, gaining points for completing a hexagonal shape, or by taking the points from your opponents remaining tiles at the end of a round. My family play a simpler version of this, and just announce the winner as the person to get rid of all their tiles first.
I must admit, Sudoku is not my thing. Give me a word search over this any day. I can do the really easy levels, but I just don't have the knack or patience for doing guess work. My dad, on the other hand, has about half a dozen of these puzzle books in his room, which he takes on holiday with him.
I always thought it was a Japanese invented game, but actually, Sudoku did not arrive in Japan until 1984. It was in fact the French who developed the game in the nineteenth century, when they started to take out the numbers from magic squares. The aim is to fill a 9×9 grid with the numbers 1 to 9 going horizontally and vertically, with no number appearing the same row or column twice.
4. Magic Square
I find magic squares a lot more fun, and used to do them a lot at school. It is a very good way to get children to learn arithmetic, as you are doing maths without really realising it. The aim is to fill in a square grid with numbers so that they all add up to the same number in all directions.