If you’re trying to help your child master their math facts, forget the drills and worksheets and play some of these fun games instead!
What are Math Facts?
Math facts are basic calculations related to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Gone are the days of rote memorization, though! Not only are games more engaging and fun, but a lot of these activities also help children learn strategies to make sense of math facts, allowing them to confidently tackle more difficult math problems.
How to Make Math Facts Fun
While it’s important for children to learn their math facts, it doesn’t need to be boring! Make math facts fun by incorporating games and activities your children love to play. The more time spent playing these games, the more practice your child is getting performing basic calculations. Plus, games are a great way to include the entire family in on the fun!
DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS AT NO COST TO YOU. THIS MEANS I MAY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THESE LINKS.
Best Games and Activities to Make Math Facts Fun
What’s Behind My Back?
What’s Behind My Back is a number sense game that can help children learn math facts to 5, 10, and 20. For preschoolers, it helps to focus on making five first and then progress to ten. Once children are adept with making ten, you can easily increase the number to twenty.
- First, assemble a rod of five LEGO Duplo blocks (or a similar connecting brick manipulative) using the same color.
- Say, “I have five.” Show your child the five blocks.
- Place the rod behind your back and break the rod into two parts.
- Keep one part behind your back and give the other part to your child, allowing them to count how many blocks they now have.
- Ask your child, “How many are behind my back?”
- Your child can then make an educated guess at how many are behind your back knowing one part and the whole.
To assemble the ten rods, I prefer to make one set of five the same color and the other set of five another color. This allows the child to easily recognize 5 + 1, 5 + 2, etc. and helps them subitize larger quantities.
This hands-on learning activity is a great supplement to number bonds.
Make Ten: A Dice Game
Dice are such a versatile and outstanding math material. They’re easily among my top 5 math items I recommend for all families.
To play this game, roll 6-10 dice and then search for the numbers to make ten. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your child is able to recognize the pairs of numbers that make both 5 and 10.
Once they master pairs, they’ll soon begin combining multiple dice to make ten. At this point, you can challenge them to see how many tens they can get in one roll.
Pair this activity alongside the introduction of teens and tens since it gives children an opportunity to see multiples of ten and add on the additional units. Using a printable hundred board, you can also play Connect 4 by taking turns rolling the dice, counting how many dots, and marking that number on the board. The first player to get 4 numbers in a row is the winner.
Pair this simple addition and subtraction game with counting objects for a more hands-on experience. Sum Swamp is easy to learn and plays rather quickly, so it’s a great game to include for math facts practice.
I’ve yet to meet anyone — child or adult — who doesn’t enjoy this game! Once you learn how to play the basic game, it’s easy to switch up the rules to make it more beneficial for making math facts fun.
In our home, we allow any equation to be played. This means every player is able to discard at least two cards each round as long as they’re able to make an equation and solve it. My 5-year-old focuses on addition facts, while my 8-year-old practices multiplication facts.
Zeus on the Loose
Zeus on the Loose can help children practice making tens, rounding, and adding and subtracting. If you have younger players joining in on the game, I recommend adding a hundred board to help keep track of the current number and further build number sense.
There’s a ton of ways to play Target Number. The premise of the game is simple: roll a target number and then use a combination of other numbers to try to reach the target number.
We’re partial to Math Dice Jr., though. It’s one of the first games we purchased that allowed for us to easily play Target Number, and my kids have always loved the multi-colored dice. It makes for an excellent math warm-up game each day.
Simply roll the 12-sided dice to determine your target number, then roll the remaining dot dice. Taking turns, each player then tries to use as many of the dice as possible to reach the target number, using any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
While you may play this game competitively, we’ve always preferred playing it cooperatively. It’s always interesting to see the different ways we approach math, and it’s led to some interesting observations and number talk discussions.
When you’re ready to begin tackling larger and more difficult numbers, try Adsumudi. It also works with a variety of ages and abilities and can be played solo, collaboratively, or competitively to help memorize math facts.
If your kids are fans of the classic game Spot It, then the Super Genius games should be a hit. Whether you play this game competitively or simply race to see how many matches can be made in a certain amount of time, it’s a quick and easy way to practice math facts. Choose between three decks: Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication (2x-5x), or Multiplication (6x-9x).
Greg Tang Math: PowerPack Bundle
With a variety of card games catering to different math concepts, the PowerPack Bundle by Greg Tang Math Games is an excellent resource for building and reinforcing math fact fluency and having fun while doing so! With this bundle, kids can practice addition and subtraction facts, multiplication facts, fractions, money, and measurement.
In addition to simple math facts, Dragonwood also introduces children to the basics of probability. For younger children, counters can help them solve the math equations while early elementary students will be able to practice adding doubles and near-doubles, making sets of small numbers, multiplying, and calculating sums — all while capturing or “rescuing” various creatures.
Cooperative games are always popular in our household, and this one is no exception. In Math Rush, players work together to properly sequence sums and differences in a timed challenge. This game is a fun and quick way to practice math facts since it encourages students to solve equations quickly. Building number sense is an added bonus!
You can easily adjust the difficulty of the game by removing certain cards and/or playing without the timer.
When your child is ready to practice multiplication facts or build fluency with fractions and decimals, be sure to check out both Math Rush 2 and Math Rush 3.
It’s rare to find a game that excels at combining several different academic subjects in such an engaging way, but Election Night has managed to do so very effectively. With two levels of play, this strategy-driven competitive board game helps children become more familiar with U.S. geography and civics while also practicing math facts. Due to its versatility, Election Night is a great game for a variety of ages.
Practice addition and subtraction facts on one side of the board, or switch to the multiplication side for additional challenges. With each roll of the dice, players can mix-and-match the numbers to reach the sum or product that best fits their strategy in their quest to reach 270 electoral college votes first. In the race to win the White House, children will quickly learn where each of the states is located, their abbreviations, and how many electoral college votes each state receives while improving their math facts fluency.
A fun spatial reasoning game, Kingdomino includes several mathematical skills, including ordering from least to greatest, multiplication, and addition. Best of all, it’s a wonderful game that works for multiple ages. Younger children can work on ordering the kingdom tiles from least to greatest, while older children can help calculate everyone’s score, first by solving multiplication equations and then finding the sum of all the products.
While there is a bit of strategy involved when it comes to selecting your tiles and building your kingdom, I’ve found younger players are not at a disadvantage in Kingdomino. In fact, my youngest child is currently on a 5-game win streak in our house!
Outnumbered: Improbable Heroes
In Outnumbered: Improbable Heroes, you’ll team up with other superheroes to defeat villains by manipulating dice to reach their target number. Featuring three levels of play, this collaborative game includes various mathematical concepts that aren’t included in a lot of other games, including evens and odds, prime numbers, divisibility, and squaring. This is one of the best games for practicing arithmetic and math facts that we’ve played thus far.
Combining math and logic, Multi is a visually engaging way to practice and review multiplication facts and arrays. It’s appealing to a variety of ages, with enough strategy to keep older students engaged and entertained but simple enough for younger children to play as well.
These next two game activities come from Jo Boaler’s Mindset Mathematics books, a wonderful supplement to any math program. You can find more games and activities like these on www.youcubed.com.
Dozens of Dice
To play this game, students roll between 12-25 dice and figure out ways to determine the total number of dots displayed. Some children will choose to make 10s, while others may begin sorting the dice into equal groups and then either skip count or use their multiplication facts to determine the total number. Since there are various counting strategies children can use, it’s a great multi-age activity that can be used as a math warm-up exercise every day.
What kid doesn’t just love playing with money? Coins are a great way to build number sense, especially when it pertains to counting by 5’s and 10’s.
For this game, children will grab a handful of coins. They may then either add or take away exactly five coins to reach the number 100. This activity offers practice in several mathematical concepts, including composing and decomposing numbers, making tens, skip counting, and calculating the distance to a target number.
Once children are adept at playing this game, you can increase the difficulty by changing the benchmark number to something other than 100.
Have you stumbled across a new game or activity that makes math facts fun? I’d love to hear about it! Please share your ideas in the comments below.