Although we have XtraMath and iReady at our fingertips for number fluency and math practice, I thought it would be fun to infuse some games into math while we’re away. Below are several games that can be played with something you probably already have at home: a deck of standard playing cards! So, grab your deck, and let’s play!
Total of 10
In Total of 10, students are trying to find cards that total 10. The goal is to empty their total of 10 board so that they have no cards left. This game is terrific because it is a solitaire style game–it can be played independently or as a team. Visit First Grader Round Up to learn how to play and for two more fun and easy base 10 games!
Make a 10 (or a 15 or 20 or…)
One of the terrific things about math card games is that many of them can be customized for various concepts and skill levels. The original goal of this game was to look at the cards you’re dealt to find ones that add up to 10, but it can be changed to 15, 20, or any number you choose. You can also add to the difficulty by allowing addition and subtraction (for example, you could use 8+4=12 or 12-2=10). Get the rules and free printable mats here.
Hunt for pairs of cards next to one another to practice basic facts. Players take turns to find facts, calling out“I spy with my little eye two cards that add to make ______.” Get the full instructions, as well as five other fun game ideas here.
Fast Facts War
Give your flash cards a rest and practice facts with math card games instead. Simply lay down two cards from the deck (remove the face cards first) and add, subtract, or multiply them. Kids can work on this alone, or you can make it a contest to see who can call out the correct answer first. Play it “War” style and the first person to answer collects the pair of cards. Play until the cards have all been dealt. Whomever has the most cards at the end of the game wins!
Math Fact Pyramid
Some versions of solitaire are really just sneaky math card games, and pyramid is one of them. Try to find cards that add up to 10 as you clear your pyramid row by row. Learn how to play here.
Most kids already know how to play Go Fish, but in this version, they’re fishing for pairs that add up to 10. Have them ask: “I have a 2. Do you have an 8 to make 10?” Change aces to 1 for this game and leave face cards out entirely. Get the full details here.
Work on adding multiple numbers to get to a grand total of 31. It will take some strategy (and probably some scratch paper!) and is great practice for adding more than two digits at a time. Get the rules here.
Beat the Teacher
Want a break from basic math facts? How about working on place value? Practice place value by drawing cards and trying to build the largest number possible. Kids play against the teacher (you, parents!) to see who wins! Learn how to play here.
‘Round the World
You’ll need a pair of dice for this math card game. Lay cards out randomly in a spiral formation as shown, and set a marker for each player on the center card. Player one rolls the dice then moves their piece that number of spaces shown. They then must multiply (or add or subtract, depending on preferences) the card number by the number on the dice. If they get the answer correct, they stay where they are. If not, they return to their original card. Play continues until one player reaches the end. The instructions for this game explain using multiplication, but the same rules apply for other operations. Get the details here.
Two players draw a card from the deck without looking and hold it up to their forehead facing out. A third student mentally adds (subtracts, multiplies…) the numbers and gives them the sum. The players then must figure out what number each is holding. You can do this with any of the operations. You’ll find this game along with dozens of other math card games in this free printable book.