Let’s Play Games!

April 26, 2017

This post is all about some of my favorite math games to play with my students!

Garbage (2 players)

I loved to play this ten frame game with my Kinder and 1st grade students! Simply have each player lay 10 cards face-down in the format of a ten frame and leave the remaining cards in a stack in the middle. Remove all the face cards. The aces count as ones. The first student would draw a card from the deck. The card would replace the face-down card in its corresponding spot on the ten frame, and the card that was removed can either be placed in its spot or, if not needed, placed in the “garbage” pile. The next player can use the discarded card if needed, or draw another card from the excess pile. Play continues until one player has filled up his/her ten frame.


Greedy Pig

Choose a “knockout” number for each round. Begin by rolling dice (1 or 2 depending on how difficult you want the game). As you roll dice, students record their numbers. They stay standing as long as they want to stay in the game; they sit when they think they have gone far enough. If you roll the “knockout” number, they lose all their points for that round if they are still standing. Once students sit, their points are safe. Students add their points up at the end to determine the winner.

Number Necklace

All the credit for this one goes to a 4th grade teacher at my school! She told me about this and I have been using it to develop number sense with my Tier 2/3 students. I give students an index card necklace with a number on it. We practice basic tasks such as:

  • If you have an even number, sit down
  • If your number has more than 4 tens, do 2 jumping jacks
  • Find a partner- find the sum/difference/product of your numbers.
  • If you can take 16 away from your number, clap twice.
  • If your number is more than twice your age, put your hands on your head

You can work on a variety of number sense skills with this activity, and the students love it! Number Necklaces has been a great warm-up for the first 5-10 minutes of our day!

Salute (3 players)

This game is one of the favorites among my students every year. Students play in groups of 3- two students are the players and one is the referee. The referee gives each player a card face down. To begin the game, the referee says “1, 2, 3…Salute!” and each player puts their card to their forehead so that they can see their opponent’s card but not their own. The referee then says “the product (sum) of your numbers together is ___.” The first student to guess their own number wins that round. Have students rotate so that everyone gets a chance to salute and to be the referee. My 3rd graders love this for multiplication practice, but it is so great to use for addition as well! You can add a timed challenge as well, to see which group can get through the most rounds in a set amount of time.

I love to use games as a fun way to reinforce number sense and practice math facts! Playing games is a great way to get students engaged and invested in their learning!

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