Yahtzee Games

by Kathryn

The various Yahtzee games on the market are all time classics and great for teaching kids to sharpen their addition and subtraction skills whilst having great family fun!

Number of Players: 1 or more

Ages 8+

Target Teaches math skills including addition, subtraction and probability. Great for social interaction and family game play.

The aim of all yahtzee games is to roll the 5 dice provided and to get the highest combined score from 3 rolls.

Each player has a score card and takes turns to roll the 5 dice. On the second and third rolls players can roll every die again or can choose to set aside certain “keepers”.

Each turn, you must place a score or a zero in one of 13 boxes on your card. The scoring method initially seems complicated but it is easy once you know how. Detailed instructions can be found in your game box or you can print them here.

The ultimate aim is to score as many “yahtzees” as possible by throwing 5 of a kind but as this doesn't happen on every turn, you need to use skill and good luck to win by getting the high score combination by other means.

If you are playing with younger children you can either team up with older players or vary the game by discarding the complicated scoring and simply working down the score card in order. That way in the first box you are aiming to throw as many ones as possible, on the second as many twos and so on down the card.

That way once they get to the bottom you can still make sure they get a chance for pen and paper addition without getting confused part way through!

There are almost as many different versions of yahtzee as there are days in the year but the basic $10 version will do just fine. If you find you have a real fanatic on your hands then you might want to invest in the super deluxe version as a Christmas treat.

Like many popular games, there is a travel version as well as several themed box sets so when your original wears out from over play there will always be a new version to try.

Using the Yahtzee Game in Speech Therapy

Math Skills

So much math these days is done with a calculator that it is great to return to some good old pen and paper addition to reinforce these skills.

The main point of discussion for developing math vocabulary in this game is the concept of probability or odds. “What are the odds that I will get a yahtzee on my first throw?” “What is the probability of scoring a yahtzee with 5 sixes during any throw on the game?” etc.

Kids get an intuitive feel for probability as they learn which combinations on the score card are easy to make and which are the rarer throws. Once they have developed this skill and are becoming adept at playing the game, it is easy to start a conversation about why some throws are easier than others and sneak in a little more education without them realizing it!

Social Interaction

Kids who typically enjoy the logic and strategy of certain video games will be sure to get a thrill from Yahtzee but in a far more interactive environment.

Like any family game, it is necessary to take turns, stick to the rules and be a good team player in order to have fun and enjoy the play. The camaraderie of a family game night can't be duplicated by video games and for kids who struggle with social interaction it is really important to encourage them to have fun in this sort of game.

The conversation skills that develop in a family environment where kids have fun within a mixed age group setting cannot be replicated by chatting with their peers. You will be amazed at the topics of conversation that come up as you and your kids chat and have fun playing together.

The bonus to Yahtzee is that it is designed to be played from kids to adult and be fun for all ages so you won't need to pretend you are having fun through yet another kid’s game.

Now you know all there is to know about the game – you are ready to play. Have fun!
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