What is play-based math?

Kids mostly learn math sitting down, silently, using pencil and paper. Play-based math allows students to tackle activities with their creativity and perseverance — not memorized formulas or procedures. JRMF activities are both playful and educational.

Why does this matter? Play-based learning strengthens physical, cognitive, social and emotional health. Self-directed exploration increases a student’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

Do I need to have a math background to do and share joyful math?

You do not need a math background for joyful math. In fact, people with math anxiety are the ones we welcome the most! We want to show the world there is no such thing as a “math person,” and we do that through our offerings.

We provide free workshops, classroom visits, and consultations so that even if you don’t have a math background, you’ll find all of the resources and supports you need to bring joyful math to the kids in your life.

What is a math festival?

A math festival is a one-time event where children gather and explore math through puzzles. It’s the biggest math party around. 

Volunteers host our festivals, and we provide the resources you need to make it happen. Whether you want to host a mini-festival in a classroom, or put on an all-day math festival in community, our tiered festival models help you customize the event to your needs. Anyone who wants to create joyful math for children is welcome to host one.

Do math festivals have an age limit?

Joyful math can be fun for any age. We gear our activities toward 5 to 18-year-olds, and they really seem the most popular with kids ages 7-13.

However, everyone from toddlers to PhD-level mathematicians have fun exploring our activities. We specialize in “low-floor, high-ceiling” problems, meaning the puzzles are accessible for every age, skill level and background. 

How much does a Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival cost?

JRMF activities are free. We are a nonprofit that believes every child should experience joyful math. Philanthropic support from donors allows the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival to create magical math moments at no cost to you.

What makes the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival special?

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival is a nonprofit that inspires joy with math. Since our first math festival at Google’s headquarters in 2007, we have supported more than 500 hosts in organizing events that engage K–12 students and their teachers. More than 50,000 people have created magical math moments across 30 states, 20 countries, and six continents.

How can I get involved with JRMF today?

As a nonprofit, the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival relies on volunteers to help create magical math moments for kids. We have a number of ways to get involved, from hosting a festival or playing math puzzles in a virtual classroom. You can also attend an upcoming event, learn how to teach joyful math, or donate to ensure more kids get to experience joyful math in the future.

Where are the answers to your puzzles?

Sorry, you won’t easily find answers to our puzzles on our website! Why? Because we believe that the exploration of solving the puzzles is where the fun really happens.

For those leading the activities, you will find solutions and hints in our Festival and Teaching Guides though. Just remember that the answers are there to help you guide the activity – the real answers are in the way that children solve the puzzles and explain their thinking!