Math Games For Learning At Home
Math Games to Beef Up Family Game Night!
Math games are a really fun way to develop and practice math skills, build ease with math facts (fluency), and learn concepts that are essential to math such as visual perception, logic, flexible thinking, problem-solving, and pattern recognition. Don’t forget the organizational skills that our children will need throughout life, such as planning, prioritizing, predicting, perseverance, and critical thinking. Math games can be so much fun that our children are learning without really knowing what’s happening…that they are learning.
We asked some of our tutors at The Community Classroom to share some of their favorite math games that they use in tutoring sessions and in their classrooms, as well as games they recommended to families to sustain learning at-home. Here’s a compiled list of those go-to math games, grouped by age level.
Math Games for 2nd grade and younger:
- Zingo Number Bingo: This math game helps kids develop counting, simple addition, number sense, and word recognition skills. It’s easy and fun learning for the little ones!
- Shut the Box: This game is quick and easy to play, and all about addition. But it’s also a pub game—you’ll see that even adults love this. It’s a fun way to get really comfortable with addition and have a blast at the same time. Caregivers will also like that there are very few pieces to clean up (bonus!). It’s also wooden, eco-friendly, and durable (another bonus!).
- Blokus: This is a strategy game, and really is good for all ages (we enjoy it as grown-ups!). It focuses on spatial sense, problem-solving, and visualization. If you want, you can read more on its “mathiness” here (including the standards it addresses grade-by-grade).
- 10 on the Spot: This math game reinforces matching, counting, and base 10 number concepts. It’s another bingo-style game that uses ten frames, which are tools we use in classrooms to help kids develop a stronger number sense.
- Roll For It: This game has really simple rules (yes!). Younger kids may need a bit more guidance and support in this addition game.
Math Games for 3rd grade and older:
- Prime Climb: We first stumbled across this math game at the National Council of Mathematics Teaching conference, where hundreds of math teachers had gathered to play it. This is a great game for kids to explore mathematical structure in multiplication and division. And it was developed by a teacher, which we love as teachers. We aren’t the only ones who love it—it’s a Mensa-recommended game (that carries some weight in our homes and classrooms!).
- Set: This family math game that is fast-paced and loads of fun. Not just fast and fun, it also helps kids develop visual perception that is helpful not only with math but so many other content areas. This is a fun and recommended kid versus grown-ups game!
- Spiral: This is a great and easy game to practice multiplication with a deck of cards and one or two dice (no game purchase required!). Counting chips are really helpful here (and your child will use these throughout the next few years). You can also use coins or anything else as counting chips (M&Ms totally count!).
- Farkle: This would be a great math game for the family for your game nights! Math concepts include comparing and ordering numbers, chance, probability, and uncertainty.
- Even Steven’s Odd: This game is a game of speed! You are racing against another player while doing simple addition and subtraction, with other concepts mixed in such as even and odd numerals and patterns. Plus, the name is just so fun to say!
- Proof: This is a great game for developing superpowers around mental math. Players try to create equations using upturned cards. This game is not just loved by educators but won a Teacher’s Choice Award.
Math Games for Tweens and Teens:
- Mancala: There is so much math in this game! It’s great practice for counting and addition. You can read more on the curriculum connections here. And one of the coolest facts is around its history: it’s one of the oldest games in the world!
- Absolute Zero: Our tutors love this math game for many reasons, but one big reason is that it was developed by a middle school teacher! It helps reinforce positive and negative integers.
- Chess: We love chess as a learning tool, and it’s not just because our tutors were obsessed with the Queen’s Gambit. Strategy, patience, planning…there are so many math and life skills.
- Cribbage: Two words summarize the skills learned with this math game: mental math! You can use a pencil and paper to start. Having a better sense of mental math (with something like addition) will help your child develop confidence and ability as they grow as a math learner, transferring to other math topics. It all builds.
- Equate: This game will look familiar, as it’s like Scrabble but with math equations. Fun for the adults who love math too!
- Mastermind: Teenagers. Logical reasoning. Enough said!
Art + Math Games for All Ages:
- Azul: This game builds on the artistic concepts behind the mosaic tiles developed by the Moors. You create patterns and sets with your own mini-tiles! Our tutors find this game really soothing and therapeutic, too!
- Tiling Turtles and Spiraling Pentagons: These are perfect for developing spatial reasoning, patterning, and counting. And they are soothing for the brain! This is another great learning tool developed by a teacher and founder of Talking Math With Your Kids, Christopher Danielson.
- Pattern blocks: These are so much fun just to play around with, creating structures or images on a piece of paper! These also help with shape recognition, counting, sorting, creativity, imagination, and countless (pun intended!) other math concepts.
- Tangrams: These puzzles include 7 pieces that children can put together in a multitude of different shapes and patterns. These are so wonderful for helping with visualization, spatial reasoning, and creativity.
For more information on how our tutors can serve your child and help them become a stronger and more confident math student, visit this page.
Written by Megan Allen, the owner/operator of The Community Classroom. Lots of love to The Community Classroom’s tutors, especially Jay Bright, lover of all things math game-related and tutor/teacher extraordinaire!