Games are a great way to reinforce basic math skills. Your kids probably won’t even realize how much they’re learning. These are some fun math games you can play with just a few dice and some playing cards.

Make 100

Players: 1 or more

Object:  To be the first to make 100 or as close to it as possible without going over.

How to play:  Take turns rolling 2 dice.  You may add, subtract, multiply or divide the two numbers.  Keep a running total.

Beat It!

Players: 2 or more

Object: To make the highest number in each round.

How to Play:  Roll three or four dice, depending on the place value you are studying.   Arrange your dice so that you make the greatest number.  The winner of the round is the player with the greatest number.  The winner of the game is the player with the most wins at the end of 10 rounds.

Pig

Players: 2 or more

Object: To be the first to get to 100

How to Play:  First player rolls two dice and finds the sum.  He can keep rolling as long as he wants and continues to add each new number to his sum.  If he rolls a one, the player scores 0 for that round.  If both dice show a one, the player’s entire score is erased and he must begin again at 0.

Race to 500

Players: 2 or more

Object: Be the first to make 500

How to Play:  Take turns rolling one die and multiply the number by 10.  Roll again, and add it to the first total.  The first player to reach 500 without going over wins.

Dot It First!

Players: 2 or more

Object:  To get the largest product when multiplying.

How to Play:  Each player needs a pair of dice.  Everyone rolls their dice at the same time.  Each player multiplies the two numbers together.  The one with the greater product wins that round and gets a tally mark.  The first player to get 10 tally marks wins.

Subtraction Practice

Players: 1 or more, or teams of 2

Object: To practice Subtracting large numbers.

How to Play:  Each player or team has a set of 3 or 4 different colored dice.  Players will decide what color will be the thousands place, the hundreds place, the tens place and the ones place.  Roll the dice and make a 3 or 4 digit number and write it down.  Roll again and make another 3 or 4 digit number.  Decide which number goes on top.  Players work together to solve the problem.  Use a calculator to check the answer.

Variation:  Players can do the same with Addition Practice.  This can be done with cards as well.  Use only numbers 1-9, remove all other cards.  Shuffle.  Lay down 3-4 cards. Underneath lay down another 3-4 cards. Determine which number should go on top if subtracting, then work together to solve the problem.

Even/Odd

Players: 2 or sets of 2

Object:  To be the player with the highest number after 20 rolls.

How to Play:  Playing with a partner, one is Odd, the other is Even.  Roll two dice.  You can add, subtract, multiply or divide the two numbers, depending on which skill you want to practice.  Players receive a point depending on whether the answer is even or odd.

Going to Boston

Players: 2 or more

Object: The player with the highest score wins

How to Play: Each player has 3 dice.  The player rolls all 3 dice and sets aside the die with the largest number.  He rolls again the remaining two.  Again, he sets aside the die with the highest number and rolls the remaining die one more time.  Add up the numbers and that is your score for the round. Play proceeds to the next player until all have had their turn.  The one with the highest score wins that round.  The one with the highest score after 5 rounds wins the game.

Variation: To play the game with multiplication, once the player has his three numbers, he adds the first two and multiplies that number by the third number.

Multiplication War

Players: 2 or more

Object: To be the player with the highest product, and the most tally marks

How to Play:  Each player has 2 dice.  Players roll at the same time and multiply their numbers.  The player with the highest product wins that round.  The one with the most tally marks after 20 rounds wins.

Counting On

Players: 2 or more

Object: Determine which number is larger and to count on from there

How to Play: Great beginning game for young kids.  You need a deck of cards and a Die.  Remove the Kings, Queens, Jacks and Jokers from the deck.  Shuffle the cards and put face down on the table.  Flip over the first card to start the discard pile.  Player one rolls the die and determines which number is higher, the card or the die.  Then he starts his counting on from that number and counts up the number of times displayed on the other playing piece.  For example: a two is the card flipped over and a 5 is rolled on the die.  The player will start counting at 5 and count on two. 5…6…7.  There is no winner, just take turns practicing.

Variation:  For older kids playing with younger kids, they can just add the two numbers in their head.  Or play with a pair of dice, and add up the dice, then the card.  You could even add the dice numbers and subtract the card number.  Lots of variations.

Subtraction War

Players: 2-4 players

Object: To win all the cards in the deck

How to Play:  Shuffle the deck and deal an equal number of cards to each player until the deck runs out.  Each player keeps his cards in a stack, face down.  Face cards = 10 and Aces = 1.  At the same time, each player turns 2 cards face up and makes a subtraction number sentence and gives the answer.  The one with the largest answer takes all the cards and puts them facedown at the bottom of his pile.  If 2 players have the same answer then it’s war.   Each player puts 4 cards out in front of them, face down.  Then flip over 2 and this time add the numbers.  The one will the largest number wins.  If their answers match again, they flip over the next card, until one of them gets a higher number and wins all the cards.

Close Call

Players: 2-4 players

Object: To have the most points after 5 rounds

How to Play:  Remove the 10’s and face cards from the deck. Shuffle and deal each player 6 cards.  Players choose 4 of their cards to make two 2-digit numbers to add together to get as close to 100 without going over.  Arrange cards so all can see your addition problem. Each player adds their numbers and records their total.  The player with the sum closest to 100 without going over wins a point.  In the case of a tie, each player gets a point.  Shuffle the cards and deal again.  The player with the most points after 5 rounds is the winner.

Variations:  Players can select only 2 cards to create single digit numbers, and the goal is to reach 10 or 15, or keep it the same and multiply the numbers.  Deal 8 cards and  players choose 6 cards and create a 3 digit numbers.  Set the goal to 1,000. 

Pile It On

Players: 2-4

Object: The player who uses the most cards in all 10 rounds is the winner.

How to Play:  Roll the die twice.  The first roll indicates how many piles the player makes.  The second roll indicates how many cards in each pile.  Add up the total number of cards used and record the score.  The winner is the player who has used the most cards in all ten rounds.

Spiral

Players: 2-4 players

Object: The player who makes it past the last card wins.

How to Play: You will need a deck of cards, one die, and a game piece for each player.  Build a spiral game board with all 52 cards, face up.  Place each game piece on one end of the spiral.  This will be the starting point.  Players will work their way to the other end of the spiral.  Each player takes a turn rolling the die.  They must multiply the number of the die times the value of the card they are on.  If they are correct, they may move ahead the number on the die.  If incorrect, they may not move.  Ace=1, Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13.  If a player lands on the same card as another player, they may send the other player back to start.

Variation:  Simplify the game by removing face cards or making them all = 10.  Add Jokers and have them equal 0.  Add the number on the die to the card instead of multiplying.

Once Through the Deck

Players: 1

Object: To be able to practice your multiplication facts by yourself

How to Play:  Shuffle cards, and make a pile face down.  Decide what times family you are going to work on.  Flip over one card at a time and multiply that card by the number you have decided to practice and say aloud only the answer. Continue through the deck.  If you are not sure, don’t guess, figure it out.  Don’t go so fast that you make mistakes, but move as swiftly as you can.

Making Ten

Players: 2-4

Object: To use any many cards as possible to make equations that equal 10

How to Play:  Remove the face cards from the deck. Place cards face down in a pile. Each player chooses 5 cards and places them face up in front of him.  Players use as many cards as possible to make equations that equal 10.  You can just do addition or do both addition and subtraction.  For example: If my cards are 9,5,1,8,2 I might say 9+1=10 and 8+2=10 as well as 9+2-1=10. Keep the cards you did not use and lay aside the used cards.  Play passes to the next player.  Next round, fill out your hand to 5 cards and go again. 

Variation:  Make 15 by adding in the face cards. You can also bump up the number of cards in your hand to 7. 

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Heather

Heather homeschooled her five children for over ten years. She loves to read by the fire, walk on the beach, and have tea with her friends and family. She currently resides in Massachusetts, not by the sea, with her husband, parents, five children, and two very silly dogs.