Whether you’re doing virtual, in-person, or home schooling a kindergartener or 1st grader, I highly recommend you take a look at Check The Oven from Melon Rind Games. Check the Oven is a bluffing game all about adding to 12 — but it doesn’t FEEL like an adding educational game, and that’s key!
How to Play
In Check the Oven, players each start with 5 cards in their hand. You’re aiming to make sets of cards that total exactly a dozen of the same item: rolls, heart cookies, gingerbread cookies, cupcakes, or chocolate chip cookies. On your turn you ask the group if they have any of one particular item, like saying “Who has heart cookies?” Everyone will place either all of their heart cookies face-down on the table OR if they don’t have any they’ll put one or more other cards on the table. You choose whose cards to take. If you have 12 of something, place the cards in a small stack on the table. Then everyone redraws up to at least 5 cards and it’s the next player’s turn.
Select who to take cards from wisely. Hopefully you’ll get what you asked for — just hope you avoid a dropped pie! Dropped pies can be passed to a player only when you don’t have what they’re looking for. (We amended this to be you could add it to any cards you offer up.) But dropped pies will cost you 1 point at the end of the game. You play until there are only dropped pies left in player’s hands and then it’s time to count. Each dozen you’ve collected is one point, each dropped pie costs you one point. Player with the most points wins!
My kindergartener is really into math right now and there isn’t any time-pressure to adding in Check the Oven, which I really liked. There’s a bit of fun to choosing who to trust to take cards from and if they give you a pie, it’s very satisfying to give it back to them. The theme is enticing and the game plays quickly so you can have more than one winner in less than a half an hour. Even if your child is past adding to 12 the gameplay is enjoyable, but if you’re ready for more of a math challenge Melon Rind Games has other math games with slightly different gameplays for you to check out. Admittedly I haven’t played them, but I’ve heard good things! I’ll include an Amazon link to them below, but as always give your local game store a shout to see if they have them in stock.
Clumsy Thief Junior – Sets totaling 10
Check the Oven – Sets totaling 12
Clumsy Thief Candy Shop – Sets totaling 20
Check the Fridge – Sets totaling 25
Clumsy Thief – Sets totaling 30
Check the Oven Stats:
~$12 at Amazon, local game retailers
3 -5 Players
Ages 7 and up (I’d say 5+ depending on your child’s math skills)