10 Math Games Using a Deck of Cards

Sep 23, 2021 | Articles, At Home Learning Tips, Math Activities, Math Tips

Teacher-Recommended Math Games That Use Only a Deck of Cards

Looking for math games using just a deck of cards? The teachers of The Community Classroom have curated a list of some of our favorite educational math games. Please see our Top 10 Math Games Using a Deck of Cards below.

Do you have a favorite you don’t see below? Add it to the comments, we’d love to learn from you and share your great idea with others.

Bonus: You can download this article as a PDF to share with your faculty, colleagues, or parent group here.

Games That Promote Counting

Builder’s Paradise

Directions: Discard the face cards and place the 4 sevens side-by-side. Deal out the rest of the deck to all the players. In each round, players work to add the next higher or lower number in each suit, trying to be the first to have an empty hand. For example, to a seven you would add either an “8” above it or a “6” below it.

Source: Math Geek Mama

Games That Promote Addition​

Race to 100

Directions: Place the deck face down in the center of all players. Each player starts with a score of 0. Flip a card over and add its value to your running total. The first player to reach 100 without going over wins!

Source: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Go Fish…For 10!

Directions: This is just like Go Fish, but you are fishing for pairs that add up to 10. Have them ask: “I have a 2. Do you have an 8 to make 10?” Change aces to 1 for this game. Added bonus if you use the correct mathematical terms: “I have a 2. Do you have an addend of 8 to make a sum of 10?”

Source: The First Grade Roundup

Games That Promote Fractions, Rounding, and More Challenging Math Skills

Round to the Nearest 10

Directions: Each player is dealt 2 cards. The players find the sum of their cards, then round their sum to the nearest 10. The person who rounds to the largest multiple of 10 wins the cards.

Source: Adventures in Third Grade

Gain or Loss

Directions: Each player starts with 15 points. Values are assigned to face cards. Cards are placed in the center of all of the players. The first player flips a card over. If the card is black, they add it to their total. If it’s red, they subtract it. Highest point total when all the cards are gone wins!

Source: Guided Math

Fraction War

Directions: This game is just like war, except each player turns over 2 cards. Then the players make the largest fraction they can with their 2 cards, deciding what should be the numerator and denominator. The player with the largest fraction wins the cards.

Source: Math File Folder Games

Place Value War

Directions: It’s war! But with 3 cards and a place value twist. Flip over 3 cards. Each player creates the largest number they can. Players compare numbers, and the largest number wins.

Source: Newark Public Schools

“Mathy” I Spy

Directions: Lay cards in a grid pattern (fewer cards for younger kids, more cards for older kids). Then play I Spy! Clues may be: I spy a number that is less than 4. I spy a number that is a factor of 28. Make the clues up based on the age and ability of your child.

Source: Susan Jones Teaching

Hit The Target

Directions: Lay five cards in the center of all players (facing up). Flip over another card, which is the target number. Players then create an equation in which they can add, subtract, multiply or divide their 5 numbers to hit the target number. Try to use all five cards, but you must use at least 2 cards. The winner takes the cards in the equation, plus the target number. (Whiteboards and markers or paper and writing utensils can be helpful with this game!)

Source: Newark Public Schools

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