4 Simple Math Games That Can Be Played at Home

10:00 AM

The world of distance learning is a crazy one, both for teachers and parents. Teachers are diving into learning how to teach online, while parents are figuring out how to monitor their children's schooling while also tackling their own responsibilities. It's important now more than ever that parents and teachers work together as a team!

It's understandable for parents to have questions about how to best support their children at home. Many parents aren't teachers, so while they know their child better than anyone else, they may need help coming up with ideas for learning at home.

It's easy to send home worksheets or recommend websites to check out, but many students benefit from more hands-on practice. Plus, parents may be looking for opportunities to be more directly involved.

Fortunately, when it comes to math practice, there are so many great ways to practice at home! There are many simple math games that can be played with just dice or a deck of cards - things many families already have. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Practice Math Facts and Comparing Numbers with Dominoes

This first game only requires a set of dominoes. Any type of dominoes will do! Typically this game is played in pairs, but can easily be adjusted to include more players. The game is simple:

  1. Dominoes are placed in a central location and turned upside down.
  2. All players pull one domino and turn it over.
  3. Players either add or multiply the numbers on the ends of their domino.
  4. Players compare their totals. The person with the largest total wins and keeps the other players' dominoes.
  5. Continue until there are no dominoes left in the pile. The player who has the most dominoes wins!

2. Practice Making 10 With a Deck of Cards

Students can practice making 10 with a deck of cards by playing the game Pyramid. This game can be played independently, or make it a competition by seeing who can complete the pyramid first. To play:

  1. Remove face cards and jokers from the deck.
  2. Lay out 21 cards face up in a pyramid as shown in the picture above. Each row should be slightly overlapping the row above it. Set aside the remainder of the cards face down as a draw deck.
  3. Remove pairs of cards from the pyramid that add up to equal 10 (10s can be removed on their own without a pair). However, cards can only be removed if it is completely uncovered; if any card is overlapping it, it is "locked" and cannot be removed.
  4. If you cannot remove anything from the pyramid, use the draw deck to find make a pair with a card from the pyramid. Draw one card at a time until you are able to make a move.
  5. Continue until you have removed all cards from the pyramid, OR you cannot make anymore moves.

3. Practice Place Value With Dice

For this game, any amount of dice can be used depending on how many place values students want to practice with. This game is best played with 2 players.

  1. Each player will roll a certain amount of dice. 
  2. Players will then arrange their dice to make the largest number possible. (For example, if a player rolls a 3, 6, and 2, the largest number they can make is 632). The number of digits the number has is the same as the number of dice used.
  3. Once players have made their largest number, they will compare. The person with the greatest total wins the round and scores a point.
  4. Whoever has the most points after 10 rounds wins!

4. No Materials? No Problem!

Here's an easy game that can be played with absolutely no materials: 20 questions! To start, one player thinks of a number (you can set your own parameters on how big the number can be). Other players will then ask yes or no questions to try to figure out the number. Examples of questions might be:

  • Is it a 3-digit number?
  • Is the number greater than 500?
  • Does the number have 4 as any digit?
  • Is it an even number?
Players have to try to correctly guess the number before they've asked 20 questions! This particular version of the game is a great way to practice number sense, place value, and more. You can also try playing this game with other math concepts. For example, players could try to guess the name of a shape by asking questions about the attributes. Be creative, just remember that only yes or no questions can be asked!

Of course, all of these games can be played in the classroom, as well, so make sure you save this post to reference when you do get back with your students! Hopefully these ideas have been helpful and give you something to pass on to your parents who are looking for some creative activities!

What are your favorite, easy math games? Add on to this list by sharing your ideas in the comments!

by Kayla @ The Average Teacher

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