Fun Math – Best Math Board Games that Kids Love
These are the most fun math board games we’ve found. 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 math skills and keep it fun? Our family loves board games, so when looking for a fun way to help my kids memorize multiplication facts and improve their mental math, I looked to board games first.
The most important thing to me with games though is they have to actually be fun, not just multiplication or addition flash cards disguised as a game. Here are my top picks for fun 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.
Fun Math Board Games
Sushi Go Party – This game ranks as one of our favorite board games, period, not just favorite math board game. I don’t think of it as a math game at all, but it actually gives a ton of math practice while you play. The game goes quickly – each round consists of passing around a deck of “sushi” and making choices about which cards to keep based on what will improve your score most. Some include multipliers (wasabi makes the next nigiri card you play worth three times as much, for instance). You get practice making sets, adding up your score, and noticing the probability of getting a card you need.
For ages 7 or 8 and up, this is my top choice for a math board game that your family will thoroughly enjoy. We specifically like the party edition because you can change out the cards in the center board, creating a ton of variety in game play.
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 Olympus (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 a place in our hearts, of course).
Sequence Numbers – All of the Sequence board games get high ratings for their pattern seeking fun. This is one brings in addition and subtraction practice. Reviewers tell us that the mathematics involved are best for kids first grade through third grade – or to help older kids brush up on addition and subtraction skills. One review from a teachers mentions that that though she thinks of this as a game best for younger players, she extended the age/skill range of playability of this math board game by making some more advanced cards.
Cloud Hoppers Subtraction Adventure with Aliens – My son and I enjoyed this subtraction game enough that the next day he requested, “Can I finish my chores, and then we can play Cloud Hoppersagain?” It’s a fun way to practice subtraction and some addition, and the story sparks imagination. You get two aliens who are trying to hop through the clouds to get to the magical flower.
Each turn you roll a 10 sided die to see what to subtract from your current number to decide where to go next. There’s a little bit of strategy because certain clouds have special powers like moving you further along, bumping you back to your ship or skipping your next turn. You get to decide which of your two aliens to move. You win by getting both aliens to the flower.
With both Logic Roots games we’ve reviewed (you’ll see another in our multiplication games below), we’ve been impressed with their ability to make math practice fun, but we’ve also found we had a few rules questions we were uncertain about. However, we found it very easy to make up our own rule clarification on the fly. I would recommend their games if you have a child who needs to brush up on or practice math skills.
Learning Resources I Sea 10! Game – This math board game helps kids practice adding numbers up to 10. The Sea 10! game 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 adding to 10 can be looking for 2 numbers that together make 10. Kids who are more practiced can look for 3 addends to make 10. It’s not the most thrilling game in the world, however it is a quick enough play that you can use it as a filler game, or a quick brush up on addition facts. The unpredictability of the sharks showing up can either be frustrating or great when it helps a player who is a little slower catch up and have a chance at winning against an opponent who is quicker at math.
Sum Swamp – One of the best math board games for kids just learning adding and subtracting is another pick from Learning Resources. Sum Swamp has kids using a couple of number dice, and a math symbol die to make equations that tell how many spaces they get to move on their turn. They’re trying to make it across the swamp, hopping across the boulders.
Multiplication and Division Games
Monster Sock Factory – Logic Roots sent us Monster Sock Factory to try out, and my 9 year old said, “I give this game a rating of fun!” We both agreed we’d like to play again. That’s awesome because in this game you get a ton of practice with multiplication and skip counting – hoping to keep up these skills over summer break!
To play, it’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s simpler than it sounds. On your turn, you’re packing “sock packets” for the monsters. Depending what the order card says is what you pack – so if you got a 21, you could pack 3 of the 7 sock packets, or 7 of the 3 sock packets (makes sense, right?). You’re trying to pack away the most socks in a turn.
The pictures are cute and help kids get a good number sense because each monster is wearing the corresponding number of socks, and part of the game is counting up to the number as you pack the socks. It is highly recommended for 3rd-5th graders. 2-3 players at a time.
Sumoku – Great for mental math, this crossword style numbers game has you seeking 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 appeals to him. The deck includes an “oracle” for higher lever multiplication making it a game that can be played with kids who are just getting to know their multiplication facts 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 game gets very high reviews as one of the most fun math board games. You use dice to roll and add, multiply, subtract, and divide to climb your way to the center of the board. The game involves enough luck and skill that everyone can play, and it’s a fun way to practice math facts.
Speed! Speed is a math 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 – Ok, not a board game, but we LOVE these books, so I wanted to be sure to let you know about them for fun math practice. The Bedtime Math books include multiple quick stories (think a few paragraphs) the short story is followed by three related math problems at three different levels from easiest to hardest. The varying levels make it possible to have a math problem for each kid to solve (from 6 years old to 9 years old to 11 years old.) It’s been such an unexpected delight to do math at bedtime; I never would have guessed how popular these would be. 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 math 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 it 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…)
Monopoly – Believe it or not, sometimes even the classics like Monopoly can go a long way in teaching our kids about money and the value of money. This game encourages our young children to use their addition and subtraction skills while also learning about the value of money, how to budget, and what investments are. With so many different versions of Monopoly available, you can also most likely find one that best caters to what interests your child the most. For this example, I had to, of course, go with the Unicorns and Llamas Monopoly version.
Helping Your Child Develop Early Math Skills
Even before our children start school, it is important that we take the time to help them develop a core understanding of addition and subtraction. This way, when they get to school, they will already be ahead of the game. So, when it comes to more complex math problems when they get older – like fractions – they may be better equipped to tackle these problems while using their critical thinking skills they developed early on.
When learning math concepts, there are a number of things our children will need to become familiar with, including:
- Having a good understanding of sizes, shapes, and different patterns
- Having the ability to count both forward and backward
- Having the ability to recognize numbers and how to identify more and less of a quantity
And all of this is just the beginning of the basic math skills they will need to develop.
Number Sense. This is their ability to count. As they progress, they will also need to be able to recognize the relationships between the numbers as well.
Representation. This requires the use of symbols, pictures, words, and objects to create mathematical ideas that are real.
Spatial Sense. For toddlers, this is about shapes, sizes, space, position, direction, and movement. For older children, they know it better as geometry.
Problem Solving. This is where your child’s ability to think through a problem comes in. It is also when they begin to recognize and understand that there may be more than one way to get to the right answer.
Again, this is just a small list of the math skills your child will learn. Helping them make this learning process fun through playing board games and other educational games is just one way to help make the information stick while making it seem like less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
Math isn’t always going to be a favorite among our kids which means it is all the more important as parents to find ways to make this otherwise boring and sometimes tedious school subject a lot more fun and entertaining. We want our kids to want to learn, right?
So, in helping them discover that learning new math skills means more than just endless worksheets and boring flashcards, we will make it interesting and fun for them to learn which will carry over as they get older.
What fun math board games do your kids love? Leave a comment so we can check them out!
More board games we love:
- Active board games toddlers love
- Board games preschoolers and parents can both enjoy
- Board games that teach science
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