Gamifying math is an incredible way to get your children practice their numeracy skills. Math is often looked at as a dreadful subject. When it comes to helping kids with their academia, for most parents, it’s Math that spells trouble. And even those, who are good at it, are often clueless about how to make it fun for their kids.
But with little creativity and a deck of cards, all these worries can be put to rest. Mathematics calls for plenty of practice, which might be boring for kids unless there is a fun approach to it. Gamifying math works wonderfully well to get your children interested in numbers.
Math card games fit in perfectly well to make math fun and more exciting. These educational card games for kids aid numeracy practice without pulling out another worksheet. They are quick to set up, require no pre-planning, and are portable, making them ideal for the holidays, vacations, journeys and day trips!
Table of Contents:
- Sorting & Grouping Games
- Counting & Number Recognition Games
- Addition/Subtraction Games
- Multiplication Games
- Place Value Games
Sorting and Grouping Card Games
1. Colour Sort
This is an easy peasy math game for preschoolers who have just picked up sorting skills. You will need two pastel/craft sheets – black and red. Lay the coloured sheets on the floor, a few inches apart from each other.
Place the deck of cards facing down, between the two sheets. Let your child pick up one card at a time and place it according to the colour on the matching sheet. Once your child is pro at sorting these cards, ask her to sort them according to the different suits.
This simple, easy to set math card game for kids is great at building concentration and motor skills along with the observation skills.
As the name suggests, this is an educational card game wherein the players have to match either of the following – value, colour or suits!
How to Play:
Draw one card from the deck and keep it in the middle. Divide the rest of the cards equally amongst the players. The goal is to get rid of all the cards by matching the attributes.
To start, the first player deals out the card with a matching attribute to the card placed in the middle. The match could be between suits, colour or value. Now this card on the top becomes the matching point for the second player and so on. If there is no matching card, the player has to skip a turn. The player, who gets rid of all the cards first, wins the game.
Counting & Number Recognition Card Games
3. Count On!
This is a single player, fun counting game for kindergarteners. While practicing counting with worksheets is quite dull, this card game for kids brings in much excitement and twist to numeracy skills.
How to Play:
Remove all jokers, kings, jacks, queens and aces from the pack. Ask your child to think of a number and say it aloud. Subsequently, ask your child to draw a card from the deck. The task will be to start the count from the number on the card and do it forwards as many times as the number your child chose. So it is basically adding the number your kid thought off to the number on the card.
Let’s say, your child calls out number 5 and draws out a card with number 6 of any colour/shape. She will then have to count from 6 and go on 5 steps forward in her counting. So she will be counting 6,7,8,9,10 and 11.
This game works wonder in building counting skills for kids. Instead of counting from 1 every time, your kids will be challenged to start from a random number. This will help them think and build logic.
4. I Spy…
This is a two-player math card game that targets number recognition skills in kindergarteners and preschoolers. For this math game for kids, you will need to remove all jokers, aces, kings, jacks and queens. To set up the game, arrange cards facing up in a 5X5 matrix.
How to Play:
Each player takes turns in calling out the cards. The first player starts by calling out “I Spy with my little eye number … ”. The second player then finds the card with the called out number and keeps it. Players take turns playing the game till all the cards are finished.
Variation 1: To make this game more challenging, the player can call cards by naming their number as well as suits like “ I spy with my little eye, a spade of 9” and so on.
Variation 2: This variation is suited for older kids and uses 2 decks of cards. Lay down all the cards face-up, from one deck, on the floor to form a large array. Keep the other deck facing down. The challenge is to find the called out card from the array of cards.
How to Play:
Draw a card from the face down deck and call it out. All the players compete to find the same card from the array first. The first person to spot the card gets to keep it. Keep playing till all the cards have been taken. The player with maximum cards at the end of the game is the winner.
5. More or Less
This card game makes practicing greater than, lesser than fun for kids. Comparing number values helps children build on their number sense and is a required precursor skill to basic math operatives like addition and subtraction.
To play, you will need a pack of cards minus all jokers, aces, kings, queens and jacks. Ask your child to draw two random cards from the pack, keep them face up and call out the card that is greater (lesser) than the other card.
6. Card Towers
Once your kids have mastered More or Less, it is time to make things more exciting for them with Card Towers. This is an excellent hands-on way to teach children how to arrange numbers in ascending and descending order.
How to Play:
Remove all jokers, aces, kings, queens and jacks from the pack. Shuffle the cards thoroughly so that the cards are in random order. To play, ask your child to draw five cards from the deck and place them face up next to each other. The task is to arrange the cards in ascending (or descending) order to make a tower of cards.
Addition/Subtraction Math Card Games
7. Addition Quick Draw
This is a fast paced multiplayer game to practice math facts. Quick Draw is a fun math game that builds your child’s mental arithmetic skills. To play the game, distribute the cards equally between the players.
How to Play:
One player calls out ‘Draw’, upon which all players draw a card from their piles and put them face up in the center, next to each other. The challenge is to add the face value of the cards and call out the sum of the cards first. The player who calls out the correct sum first gets to keep the cards in a separate, safe pile. The game goes on till all the cards are finished. The player with the maximum number of cards wins the game.
8. Hi Low
This is a great math game for kids who are just warming up to addition and subtraction. A fun way to practice these basic operations, Hi Low is a competitive game between two players.
How to Play:
Remove all the face cards from the deck. To play the game, deal cards equally between the two players. Each player gets a pencil and rough pad for adding/subtracting.
The game starts with each player drawing two cards from their respective piles and keeping the cards face-up for everyone to see. The task is to add (or subtract) the number values on the card and come up with the answer. The player with the higher (lower) score gets to keep all the cards dealt in a separate pile. The game goes on till all the cards are finished. The one who gets most cards in the end is the winner.
Let your kids use paper and pencil to begin with until they are ready for mental calculations. This card game makes practicing operations fun and exciting, leading to better engagement.
We understand practicing math facts through flash cards or worksheets is not so exciting. But, you certainly don’t want your kid to be making mistakes with basic math facts. Here is a cool math card game that will make your child love practice math facts.
10. Nifty 50
Practicing double-digit addition and subtraction could not be more fun than this. This math game for kids does more than just making your kids works at their math skills. It is a great way to build critical thinking and logical analysis.
How To Play:
Deal all the cards equally among the players. All aces are worth 1, face cards and tens are worth 0 and jokers can presumed for any value between 0 and 9.
To play, each player picks four random cards from respective piles. With these 4 cards, they have to make two 2-digit numbers so that the sum (or difference) of the numbers is closest to fifty. Players who get exactly fifty earn 5 points. Score closest to fifty earns 2 points.
Discard the used cards and start the next round till all the cards from the pile are finished. The winner is the player with the maximum score at the end of the game.
11. Break At 36
Here is another “addition” math game for kids that can be played with multiple players. The objective of the game is to get to the total of 36 (or any other number of your choice!).
How to Play:
Deal all the cards equally between the players. All aces are worth 1; face cards, jokers and tens are worth 0. The first player picks a card and places it in the center. The next player places a card on top of the first card and calls out the total sum of both the cards.
The game continues till the total of 36 or above is reached. The player to put the last card that takes the sum to 36 or above gets to keep all the cards in a separate pile. Play continues till one player runs out of cards. The winner is the player with maximum cards in the separate pile at the end of the game.
12. Make Ten
Spice up math practice with this fun math card game for kids. It is a great way to practice math operatives and introduce children to simple math equations.
If you loved playing Solitaire, you will surely enjoy playing Pyramid with your kids. This is a Solitaire styled addition game that makes practicing addition fun.
Multiplication Card Games
14. Max It Out!
This fun multiplication math game for kids is sure to get everyone excited. This fast paced game of cards challenges the players to quickly deduce and find the largest product.
How to Play:
Take out all the face cards from the deck. Each player draws 5 cards from the deck and keeps them face down. When all the players have drawn their cards, flip them over and put them face up. Quickly calculate the product between any two cards to make the biggest number. All aces are worth 1. The player with the highest product wins the game.
15. Target Match
Target match is played much like Max It Out, except the highest product that is not the goal here. Instead, you choose a number, say 24, before dealing the cards and the players have to use 3 cards at the max from their sets to make a product closest to the chosen number.
16. Multiplication Snap
This elementary math card game for kids is an easy-peasy way to make your kids practice multiplication tables, which are otherwise boring to learn.
How to Play:
Remove all the face cards from the deck. Aces hold the value of 1. Deal cards equally among the players. All players keep their cards facing down. Select a number whose multiplications table you wish to practice and write it down on a piece of paper. Keep this paper in the center.
When you say draw, players pick up a card from their decks. The challenge is to multiply the number on the card with the number written on the paper. The player who multiplies first correctly, gets to discard his/her card. The winner is the player who finishes his/her cards fastest.
Place Value Card Games
Place value is an interesting concept that often leaves kids boggled. But here are some exciting, easy ways to get your children really understand the concept of place value.
17. Place Value War
This easy card game for kids makes practicing place value a breeze! All you need is a deck of standard playing cards with face cards removed.
How to Play:
Shuffle the cards properly. Each player takes turns in drawing three cards from the pile and keeps them face down. Once all the players have drawn the cards, players turn over their cards and try to arrange them to make the highest possible number. The winner is the player with the biggest three-digit number.
You can deal more than three cards to notch up the game. Alternately, you can also tweak the original game to allow players to swap one card (without showing its face value of course!) with each other to add more fun.
18. Make it Big!
This is a strategy place value game for kids that is sure to get them thinking critically. Make it Big! challenges players to come up with the biggest possible number from their cards but does not allow any second chances! To play this game, you will need a deck of cards and paper.
How to Play:
To play this game, you need to make place value sheets first. Draw five dashes on a sheet of paper to denote the place values. Each player gets one place value sheet at the start of the game.
Next, remove all face cards and jokers from the deck. Deal 5 cards, facing down, to each player. Every player takes turns flipping their cards one at a time. Once flipped, the player must decide where to put it on the place value sheet. Once placed, the player cannot change its position on the sheet. Players must think carefully where to place the card.
Once everyone has placed their cards, players flip another card from their provided cards and place them on the sheet. This goes on till all the five cards have been placed on the place value sheet. The player, who makes the largest number, is the winner.
We are certain that these card games for kids will make practicing math so much fun for kids that they won’t loathe practicing their math tables and sums ever again!