With kids in 3rd and 6th grade, math is on my mind a lot lately. Specifically – how can I help my kids brush up on their math skills, but keep it fun? Our family loves board games, so when I looking for a fun way to help my kids memorize multiplication facts and improve their mental math, I looked to games first.
The most important thing to me with a game though, is they have to be actually fun, not just multiplication or addition flash cards disguised as a game. Here are my top picks for math card games and math board games. All of these are either tested by my family or have received a slew of good recommendations from parents. Links are Amazon affiliate links.
Addition and Subtraction Games:
Zeus on the Loose – This game is super fun, and is a game we take camping and play with other grown ups too – definitely not just math practice for kids; it’s a favorite family game. This is a math centered card game that nurtures quick addition skills as you try to get Mount Oympus (the discard pile) to reach 100 and steal Zeus. The game play moves quickly and you can play 4 to 6 rounds in about 15 minutes. It offers enough strategy to keep you excited and engaged, but not so much that each move becomes a drawn out decision process. I’m not surprised to learn this Gamewright game has also won multiple awards including the Dr. Toy’s Smart Play / Smart Toy Award. It is replacing Uno as our go-to quick family card game (though that always has place in our hearts, of course).
Sequence Numbers – All of Sequence games get high ratings for their pattern seeking fun.This one brings in addition and subtraction practice. From the reviews it looks like it is best for kids first grade through third – or to help older kids brush up on addition and subtraction skills. One game player mentions she extended the age/skill range of playability by making some more advanced cards.
Learning Resources I Sea 10! Game – This games is flexible and can be played in easier or harder ways depending on how kids are at “seeing 10” with groups of numbers. Kids just getting a handle on it can be looking for 2 number that together make 10. Kids who are a more practiced can look for 3 addends to make 10.
Multiplication and Division Games
Sumoku – This crossword style numbers game has you looking for combinations of numbers that add up to multiples of the “key number” (which you find from an included die). One homeschooling mom’s review says she enjoys not only the addition and multiplication practice, but the fact that this game is actually fun for her and her daughter – win-win.
Mythmatical Battles Norse/Egyptian Double Deck Set – A math card game for kids who love adventures. My 11 year old adores the action filled books of Rick Riordan, so the mythical theme of this game makes it the perfect. The deck includes and “oracle” for higher lever multiplication making it one that can be played with kids who are just getting to know their multiplication fact, and good practice for kids who have their multiplication down.
Super Genius Multiplication is a Multiplication matching game from Blue Orange games (love them!). The cards remind me of the seeking skills used when you play their famous game Spot It!, only you’re using your memory of multiplication facts for spotting a match instead of matching pictures.
Math for Love Prime Climb – This math board game gets very high reviews. You use dice to roll and add, multiply, subtract and divide your way to climb your way to the center of the board. It involves enough luck and skill that everyone can play, and it’s a fun way to practice math facts.
Speed! Speed is a game that improves players skip counting. When kids get good at skip counting, multiplication gets a lot easier. One of my kids was never great at memorizing his multiplication tables, but he got comfortable skip counting and he does well at math using this skill for many of the problems he encounters that involve multiplication.
Mental Math and More
Bedtime Math – we LOVE these books. They include three problems at three different levels with each quick story. It’s been such an unexpected delight to do math at bedtime, I never would have guessed how popular these would be, but the kids keep asking for them, and the stories are quite short, so it’s easy to say yes.
Learning Resources Head Full Of Numbers – Set the timer and create as many unique, correct equations as possible. Players can use addition and subtraction or multiplication and division, making this a flexible game for various skill levels. Recommended for ages 7+.
Albert’s Insomnia – This mental math game helps kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and order of operations. One reviewer says that not only has she been playing ti with her 6 & 8 year olds, she also will play it with her husband, making it a true family game – fun for everyone.
Think Fun Math Dice – Sometimes simple is good. This little set of dice and the game would make a good stocking stuffer and the game that goes with it is very easy to learn. You roll two dice to get your “target number” then use the other three to make a math sentence using addition, subtraction multiplication, or division. They also make a Jr. Math Dice game for younger players (Thank goodness for those of us who have a youngest kid who gets so mad when it seems like all the games are only for the big kids…)
What math games do your kids love? Leave a comment so we can check them out!