Math Games

Sometimes, you just need to put those math texts away and have some fun. And, mathis great fun when the kids think they're just playing games. Below, you wil find a list of some of our favorites.

Table Games

  • Dominos
  • Numbers 1 to 10, using six-sided dice
  • Muggins
  • Chess
  • Blokus
  • Set
  • Blink
  • Sum Swamp Addition & Subtraction Game
  • Learning Resources Money Bags
  • Learning Resources Totally Tut Math Operations

Group Games

Time Bomb

  1. Put everyone in groups of between 2 and 10 people.
  2. The first person says either 1, 2 or 3
  3. The next person continues on and can say an additional one, two or three numbers.
  4. Continue around the group until one person is forced to say 12.They are now out.
  5. Start again from 2.

Math Groups

  1. All the kids run around the room in a big circle.
  2. The teacher shouts out a number.
  3. The kids have to stop and make groups that contain this number of people.
  4. When they have the right number, they sit down.

Sums Sumo

  1. Place a sheet of newspaper on the floor for each pair of kids.
  2. Each kid in the pair stands on opposite ends of the newspaper with their backs to each other.
  3. The teacher calls out an equation (3+3 or 3x3, etc.).
  4. The first kid to answer correctly takes one-half step back.
  5. When their feet touch, they stop.The teacher says “Go!” and without turning they have to push the other player off the newspaper.The first person to touch any part of the ground outside the “ring” (newspaper) loses.

Balloon Equations

1.Get kids in groups of 4 or 5.
2.Each group forms a circle and holds hands.
3.Give each group a balloon.
4.As a group. They have to keep the balloon in the air.When it touches any part of someone’s body, they have to add to an equation.For example, the first kid might say “2.”The next kid could add “+3 = 5.”The next might say, “5 x 3 = 15.”

Chinese Ladders

  1. Teach a series of equations.(Need to have a list of equations that produce answers “1 to x” with x representing the numbers of pairs in your group.)
  2. Divide the students into two equal groups.
  3. Have two groups line up facing each other with two to three feet between each pair.Have them sit down with their legs outstretched in front of them with their feet touching the feet of the person in front of them.They now have made a ladder with their legs forming the “rungs of the ladder.”
  4. Assign a sequential number to each pair of students.
  5. The teacher reads out the equations.
  6. The students listen.If the answer is their number, they have to:
  7. Stand up
  8. Run down the middle of the ladder, jumping over the “rungs of the ladder” and circling back to the head of the line and continuing jumping through the “ladder” until they reach their place in line again
  9. Sit down again.
  10. The fastest student gets a point for his/her team.
  11. Side Note: This game can be a little dangerous. Try to leave ample space between the kids and encourage them to be careful not to step on one another.


  1. Prepare a series of cards/papers with numbers on them (for example, the answers to the times table, etc.)
  2. The kids in each group will work as a team to determine the answer to each equation.
  3. Review the equations that you’ve chosen.
  4. Spread out the cards/papers randomly at one end of a room on the floor or on tables.
  5. Divide the kids into four or five groups.
  6. Share the following rules:
  7. The first kid in line will run to the other end of the room to find the answer.
  8. Touch the paper/card with the answer (do NOT pick it up).
  9. The first person/people to touch the card gets a point for his/her team – write this point on the whiteboard behind your team when you return to your group.
  10. Any shoving/pushing to touch the card means a loss of two points for the teams involved.
  11. The kids who just ran return to their team and go to the back of the line.
  12. Call out an equation.
  13. Run.

What's My Rule?

  1. Explain that you are thinking of a rule—one thing that students have in common—that you want students to guess. You will put a few students who meet the rule on one side and those who don't on the other.
  2. Choose a rule that is easy to recognize, such as students who are brown-haired vs.students who have blonde hair.Don't tell thekids at this point what therule is; you want them to guess.
  3. Ask the remaining kids to suggest which of the remaining kids belong in each group.Encourage them tothink about patterns and classification. Ask:
  4. What made you choose that person?
  5. What does your choice have in common with others in the "meets my rule" group?
  6. How is your choice different from students in the "meets my rule" group?
  7. Once students understand the game, let them take turns coming up with a rule (students who are wearing red) and challenge them to come up with new and more challenging rules.

Geometric Shape Hide & Seek

Learning Goals

  • Use coordinate systems to specify locations
  • Use coordinate geometry to represent and examine the properties of geometric shapes
  • Use coordinate geometry to examine specific geometric shapes, such as regular polygons or those with pairs of parallel or perpendicular sides

Teaching Tips

  • Display the grid on the overhead.
  • Introduce the following concepts:
  • X, y axes
  • Coordinates
  • Ordered pairs
  • Vertex
  • Edge
  • Shapes that can be made with coordinates (various polygons like triangles, squares, octagons, etc.)
  • Teach the kids how they would use these terms to describe or “find” what’s on the grid.
  • Demonstrate how the hide and seek game would work using the grid and terms (see below for rules).

What to Do

  • Divide the kids into groups of four
  • Explain the following rules
  • One person will “hide” a shape and the others will try to find the shape’s type and location.
  • The finders may work together.
  • You will take turns being the hider and the finders.
  • The finders should use the terms we just reviewed to ask the hider questions about the location and nature of the shape.
  • Hider and finders turns their backs to each other.
  • Each hider draws a shape on the grid.
  • The finders may not look at the hiders’ grids.
  • The finders work together on a blank grid to mark off locations they’ve tried, but found nothing.
  • The hider should tally the number of questions asked and the number of guesses made.
  • Give each team a set of grids.
  • Play.