Are you looking for some alternative ways to develop your kid’s math skills? Do you want to make math fun and interesting for your kids? Are you looking for budget friendly math games for kids? A simple deck of standard playing cards is all that you need to play fun math card games.
Math is important in everyday life. However, learning math through textbooks can get pretty boring and tedious especially for children. Many children find math hard when taught this way. As a parent or a teacher, you should always integrate fun ways to break the monotony while learning math and make it interesting for kids. And, math games are perfect learning tools for your kids.
Playing cards have always used math to some extent in all traditional card games. To play any card game, knowledge of math is essential, and card games like poker and blackjack rely heavily on math to beat the odds. You can tweak playing cards in fun and interesting ways to teach basic math skills to your kids without the gambling element, of course. There is no doubt that your kids will love these fun math games with playing cards.
In addition, Math card games for kids has plenty of advantages. Some of them are:
- They are inexpensive and readily available.
- Very little space is required you can carry them everywhere. It is basically math on the go. You can teach math to your kids even during vacation.
- They are versatile and you can use cards to play countless math games. The games can be adjusted to cover specific math topics and the level of difficulty can be easily tweaked according to your child’s needs.
- They are a great way to teach math to kids and they won’t even feel like they are learning.
- Playing games breaks monotony and get kids excited about learning math.
We have researched a lot of different math games using playing cards and come up with 21 best math card games to help your kids improve their math abilities.
1. Bingo with Cards
Improves Number Identification
This math game with a deck of cards is perfect for elementary children to improve their number identification skills. The game can be played with a single deck or multiple decks depending on the number of players. Firstly, you need to remove the face cards and deal 16 cards to each player. The players will then put the cards face up in front of them in rows and columns of four (4 x 4). The remaining cards are placed face down in the center. One player will flip a card from the remaining deck. If any players have that number on their board, they turn the card face down. Every player gets a turn to flip a card from the remaining deck and the game continues till a player has all cards facing down and yells “Bingo”. You can also give mini wins for cards down vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
2. Even or odd
Improves Math fact & Number Recognition
This math game with cards can be played solitary or as a competition for young students. To play this game, you will remove the face cards except for the ace that you can consider as 1. The deck of cards is shuffled and handed to the child face down. The child will then flip each card and sort it out in two decks of even or add numbers. For two players, you can give a deck each and make it into a competition. The player to sort out the deck first correctly wins the game.
3. Two cards
Improves Math fact & Basic Arithmetic
This math game using playing cards is perfect for your elementary kids to practice their arithmetic skills and improve their math fact. And what’s more, it is super easy to play. You need to remove the face cards first but keep Ace and assign it number 1. You will then shuffle the deck and put two cards face up in front of your kid. The kid will need to add, subtract, or multiply the numbers of the two cards. You can practice this game alone with a single kid or turn it into a competition with a group of kids. The kid who yells the correct answer first wins the round. You can keep score and play for a number of rounds.
Learn more about how to Help your child develop early math skills
4. Find the cards
Improves Arithmetic & Number relationship skills
In this math card games, you need to remove the face cards first, but keep Ace and assign its value as 1. You will then deal 10 cards face up. The players will take turns removing a combination of numbers based on your questions. You can modify the questions based on the player’s math level. You can ask the players questions like “Find two number that add to 10” or you can also make this game harder by asking to “Find three cards that add up to 15”, or “Find 2 cards that multiples to 30” or “Find 2 cards whose subtracted answer is 5” etc. To make the game more challenging, you can include a time limit.
5. Sort it Out
Improves Number sense & Arithmetic skills
This math game with a deck of cards is adaptable and offers plenty of opportunities to get creative and adjust the difficulty level. In this game, you need to first decide on a way to sort the cards. Make sure that you adjust the game according to your child’s level and remove the face cards, but keep Ace as 1. You can choose easy sorting like just simple number sequence, color wise sequence, suit wise sequence. You can also make the sorting more complex with rules like “even or odd numbers only” or “use pair of cards that add to of 10” or “the total should add up to 50” etc.
To play the game, you will deal the deck and deal 10 cards to each player. The number of decks will depend on the number of players. The remaining cards will be kept face down at the center. The players will take turns picking up a card from the center deck, comparing it to their cards. If it is useful for them in sorting, they will take it for their deck and discard a card from their deck that they don’t need. Then, the other player continues, and they can chose to pick up the card the immediate player discarded or pick a new card from the center deck deepening on what card they need. The game ends when one player has sorted out their deck perfectly.
6. Make it ten
Improves Addition skills
This math game with playing cards is fantastic for kindergarten level students to practice their math facts until 10. For this game, you need to deal cards in 3 rows of 5 cards each face up. The remaining deck of cards is placed on the side facing down. The child needs to collect a pair of cards that add to 10, and continue this step until there are no cards left that give the sum of 10. The empty spots are filled with cards from the remaining deck, and the game will continue. Face cards can be collected in pairs. If playing solitaire, the game will continue till the deck is cleared. For two players, you can give a deck each and the one who clears the deck first wins the game.
Learn more about Fun Math Activities For Your Kids
7. Make a fan
Improves number sense
This math card game can be played by 4 players and you just need a single deck of cards. In this game, you will shuffle the deck and deal 13 cards each to each player. The players will hold the card in their hands in the shape of a fan with the faces of the cards towards them. The player to the left of the dealer will start by playing a 7. If the player does not have 7, he will say pass and the other player will continue. When all sevens are down, the game can be played in descending order starting with 6 and then in ascending order starting with 8. The player that loses all the cards first is the winner. To keep score, you can count the number of cards remaining in the hands of those who lose a round. The game continues for 4 rounds and the one with the lowest score wins the game.
9. Pyramid solitaire
Improves addition and logical skills
To play this math game using playing cards, you will remove the face cards but keep the Ace and assign its value as 1. You will shuffle the deck and lay out a pyramid of 21 cards in a 6 row pyramid, one card at the first row, 2 cards at the second row and so on till there are 6 cards at the bottom. The leftover cards you will place in your hand face down, and it will be your draw deck. At any time, only fully exposed cards in the pyramid can be played.
To start with, the 6 cards in the end are the exposed cards. You can start removing two cards at a time that add up to 10, with exception of 10 which can be removed on its own and place it in the discard pile. When there are no more exposed cards that can be added to get 10, you will pick a bottom card from the draw deck in your hand and place it face up at the top of the deck. If it matches with an exposed card to give a sum of 10, they are both removed and you continue. If it is not a match, you will put draw out the next card from the bottom of your draw deck and continue. The game will end till the pyramid is cleared or if there are no more matches.
Improves addition and logical skills
This game is a modification of traditional blackjack. In this game, one person is the dealer and other players compete against the dealer. The dealer will deal two cards to all players and to himself, all face-up. The goal is to get a total of 21 by adding your own cards and the dealer’s card without getting busted. You get busted if the value of the cards goes over twenty-one. Players can choose to get a card from the dealer or tap out in the rounds that follow. The game continues till someone gets 21. The one who gets busted is out of the game. If the dealer busts, everyone wins.
11. Arithmetic Duel
Improves arithmetic skill and speed
This math game with cards is suitable for 2 players. It is versatile and can be customized according to the child’s current math level. In this game, you can assign value to the face (Jack as 10, Queen as 11, King as 13 and Ace as 1). You will shuffle the deck of cards and each player is dealt with two cards face down. When you say go, the players flip the cards and calculate the sum. The one with the greatest sum wins all the cards. The game continues till the deck is empty. The player with the most cards wins the game.
You can also customize the game by including other arithmetic operations such as subtraction in which the player with the smallest difference wins, or multiplication in which the player with the largest product wins the game. You can make the game easier by removing face cards.
Learn about how to effectively teach math to elementary children
12. Rule of 24
Improves number relationship & logical skill
This is an amazing math card game that will not only improve your child’s arithmetic abilities but also improve their creative and logical skills. This math game with cards can be played with a single or multiple players. You will need to provide each player with a notepad and pen. From the deck of cards, you will remove the face cards, but keep the Ace and assign its value as 1. You will then shuffle the deck of cards and deal 4 cards to each player. Each player must come up with an equation using the 4 cards they have such that the solution comes to 24. The players are free to use all 4 basic arithmetical operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and must use PEMDAS rule. The player who can form the equation first correctly will win the game.
13. Loss or Gain
Improves addition and subtraction skills including negative numbers
In this math game with playing cards, you will assign numbers to the face cards as 1 (Ace),11 (Jack), 12 (Queen), and 13 (King). You will then shuffle the cards and place the pile facing down. You will hand a sheet of paper to each player with 10 rows. All the players will start with 0 points. In this game, Black cards will be gain cards and it needs to be added whereas red cards will be lost cards and will need to be subtracted. Players will draw a card each and this will be their starting point. The players will continue drawing a card in turns and will add or subtract what they draw with the previous total. The players need to neatly write each step in the sheet provided (the numbers they drew and the total after addition or substation). After 10 rounds, the player with the highest score will win.
To make the game easier, you can remove higher numbers (face cards) or start the game with 15 or 20 points to avoid negative numbers.
14. Fraction war
Improves fraction skills
This math card game for kids can be played as a duel. You can assign a value to face cards as 11 (Jack), 12 (Queen), and 13 (King) or remove them, but keep always the Ace as 1. You will shuffle the deck of cards and deal two cards to each player. The first card dealt will be the numerator and the second card will be the denominator. The players will have to quickly determine whose fraction is the largest. The one who gives the correct answer first wins the round and keeps all the cards. The game will continue till all the cards from the deck are over and the one with the most cards will win. You can provide a notepad and pen to the players so they can perform calculations when needed.
15. Prime Numbers Game
Improves knowledge of prime numbers
This math card game is suitable for 2 to 4 players. In this game, will shuffle the deck of cards a prime number of times (3, 5, or 7 times) first to create the mood. You will then deal 11 (a prime number) cards to each player. The players will need to hold the cards in their hands facing them. From the remaining deck, turn over the top card face up and this will be considered as the starting number. The first player (left of the dealer) adds a card from their hand to the starting card such that it will equal to a prime number. If the player is able to build a prime number, they will remove that particular card from their deck, show the card to others and give the total. The next player will then add this total to their cards in hand to get a larger prime number and repeat the process. The game will continue till a player loses all his cards and win the round. If a player is not able to come to a prime number by adding, he will say “pass” and the next player continues.
Learn about Experimental Math Learning Activities for your kids
16. Place value card game
Improves number sense.
To play this math game with a deck of cards, remove the face cards except for the Ace, which will be assigned a value of 1. The deck of cards is then shuffled and each player is dealt with 3 cards. The players will use the three cards they get to make the largest possible 3-digit number. Then, to make the game more interesting, each player gets one chance in which they can stick to their cards or swap a card from the remaining deck without knowing what card they are going to get. After this, the dealer yells “Show” and all the players show their cards together. The player with the largest 3-digit number wins the game.
You can make this game easier or harder by changing the digits to 2-digits or 5-digits. You can also change it to decimals for a challenge.
17. Make an Equation
Improves arithmetic combination
In this math game with playing cards, the face cards are all removed and the deck of cards is shuffled. The dealer then deals 5 cards from the top of the deck and puts it face up at the center. The remaining deck is put aside. From the remaining deck, the top card is removed and shown face up which then becomes the target number. Each player will then need to form an equation that gives the target number by using various arithmetical operations.
The equation the players create has to contain at least 2 numbers from the 5 cards dealt in the beginning. The same number cannot be repeated unless the dealt cards have the same number repeated. The player who can make the correct equation first reaching the target number wins the game. To make the game longer, the scoring system can be used and the game can be played 3-5 times in a row. The player with the highest score wins the game. If the player’s equation is incorrect, they get a negative point.
18. Close call
Improves number sense & addition-subtractions skills.
To play this math game with cards, you will first assign value to all the face cards (Jack as 10, Queen as 11, King as 13, and Ace as 1). The dealer will shuffle the deck of cards and deal four cards to each player. The players will have to arrange the 4 cards into two 2-digit numbers. You can play the addition or subtraction version of the game.
For the addition version, the two 2-digit numbers should be arranged in a way so that the total of both these is close to 100 as possible but not more than 100. For the subtraction version, the difference between the two 2-digit numbers should be 0 or close to zero as possible but not a negative number. The player whose answer is the closest to the target number or the target number itself wins the game.
Learn about helping your kids with math
19. Metric Conversions
Improves metric conversions and mental math skills.
To play this math card game, you will first assign numerical values to the face cards as 1 (Ace),11 (Jack), 12 (Queen), and 13 (King). The dealer will shuffle the deck of cards and place the deck at the center face down. The top card is flipped face up for all to see. The players will need to convert the value of the flipped card into different units depending on the questions. For example: from kilogram to milligrams or feet to inches etc. The players will need to perform calculations mentally.
The first player to give the correct answer wins the round and gets to keep the flipped card. If no one can give the correct answer, the card is discarded. The game is repeated for about 5-10 rounds. The player with the most cards at the end wins the game. This game can be easily modified as you can use various metric units depending on what skill you wish to practice with your children.
20. Take a trip
Improves arithmetic skills
In this math card game for kids, you will also need a pair of dice and some small objects to represent each player. It is kind of like a ludo card game version. Depending on the number of players, you can use multiple decks. To play the game, the deck of cards is laid out randomly on the floor in a spiral formation. The four pieces representing the players are kept at the center of the spiral. One of the players will roll the pair of dice. The player will need to add the numbers of the two dice, say the correct total out loud and if the answer is correct, they will get to move their piece across the spiral that many spaces. The game continues with the next player.
If the player answers incorrectly, they will turn the card their piece was on face up and go back that many number of steps or to the starting position (whichever is applicable). The first player to move across the spiral and come out wins the game. You can also change the game to subtraction or multiplication version.
21. Reading Minds
Improve mental math skills and arithmetic abilities
This math game using playing cards is suitable for 2 players and can be played as a duel. In this game, the two players are each dealt with one card each face down by a dealer. Without looking at their respective card, the players will pick the cards up and hold it up in their forehead. The players can see the other person’s card but will not see their own card.
A dealer mentally multiplies the number the 2 players have and gives them the product. Each player must figure out the number of the card they have on the forehead by calculating mentally taking the other’s player card and the product into account. The first player to give the correct answer wins the round. You can keep scores to lengthen the game and repeat the game for a number of rounds. This game can also be played with subtraction and addition version.
A fun tip for playing math card games
While playing math games with cards with your children, be sure to make the game engaging and entertaining as possible.
You can give small rewards or prizes for the winner. But, do not try to make the game very competitive or put the kids under pressure. Also, feel free change the rules of the game according to your child’s mathematical ability or relax some rules. The primary goal is to have fun while learning math.
This article summarizes 21 wonderful math card games for kids of varying intensity and math skills.
There are countless math games you can play using cards varying in difficulty level from easy, intermediate to advance. You can easily modify the games to be simple or complex. Math card games are not only fun and entertaining, they are also effective tools to practice math skills and reinforce math facts. Approaching math this way will help your child learn more efficiently without getting bored and keep your child engaged. Math games with paying cards will surely help your kids get better at math.
Even classrooms have started incorporating various math card games for kids to make learning math fun for the students and to teach concepts of arithmetic and probability more effectively.
Apart from math card games, there are plenty of cool ways to improve your kid’s math skills. Be sure to check out the links below to make math fun and engaging for your kids.
- Math Games With Playing Cards
- Math Card Games That Will Help Students Practice Their Skills
- HUGE Collection of the BEST Math Card Games
- Math Games with a Deck of Cards – Newark City Schools
- Card Games – Math Engaged
- 3 Quick Math Games With Playing Cards | Scholastic
- 10 Family Card Games That Support Early Math Skills …
- Card Games – Zeno Math
- Math Card Games – SAU 39
- Discover 6 Of The Best Math Card Games For Kids – Top …