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Maths Games for kids and how they help with learning

When it comes to maths, creativity is king. This means departing from the boring maths problem practice and subbing in engaging games. Once you are able to hold their attention with a fun approach, you are on your way to opening the gateway to life-long positive learning. Here are some ways to teach maths using the Mathnasium method that will spark joy and assist with their learning in an engaging way. 

10 Slam 

If your kids have grown up playing snap with regular cards, this is a variation but uses addition skills instead. This also uses deck of Mathnasium cards that replaces the face cards (King, Queen, and Jack) with numbers.

Ideally, players are matched to their ability. 

How to Play

1. Each player is dealt half of the deck of cards, face down, in a pile.

2. Players take turns flipping one card, face up, into a shared discard pile.

3. When the top two cards in the pile add up to 10, be the first to tap the deck and

state the associated 10s fact. (“Four plus six equals ten!”) The player who taps the

deck first and states the fact correctly wins all the cards in the discard pile.

4. The activity is complete when all the cards from the players’ hands have been played

into the discard pile.

What is learnt? 

For kids who are visual or are progressing from counting on their hands to their heads, this game will help build their confidence and reinforce their addition skills. 

Be mindful of matching abilities as a kid’s confidence can be rocked if they are noticeably slower than their partner.  

Multiplication Heads Up 

This is similar to celebrity heads, but instead of yelling out the famous person on your forehead you try to calculate the number based on what another player has. 

You will want to remove 0’s and joker cards for this game.  

How to Play

1. Without looking at the value, each player draws a card from the deck and holds it number

side out on their forehead. Each player then looks at the card on the other player’s head.

2. The Facilitator announces the product of the two cards. (For example, if one player had a

10 and the other player had a 2, the Facilitator would announce “20.”)

3. The first player to figure out the value of the card on their own head wins.

4. The activity is complete when five rounds of the game have been played.

What is learnt? 

This is for kids who are working on multiplying and could benefit from another format of learning. This style of learning is useful for kids who are verbal or mental learners. For kids who are visual, supplying some paper with a pencil can also help them reach the answer. There is also no passive player in this game, so up to three kids can be learning. 

Number Detective

This is a fun play on a murder mystery, but is more age appropriate and of course uses mathematics. All you need for this game is a handful of uniform pencils. 

How to Play

1. Decide who will be the “Number Detective.” The player who isn’t the detective

puts a number of counters on the table, and the detective counts them.

2. The detective closes their eyes, and the other player either adds or subtracts

counters from the table.

3. The detective opens their eyes and uses an addition or subtraction fact to solve

the mystery of how the number of counters has changed. For example, if there

were 12 counters at first and now there are 16 counters, the detective would win

the round by saying “12 + 4 = 16.”

4. The activity is complete when both players have had the chance to be the

“Number Detective.”

What is learnt? 

This is a game that can draw on visual, verbal, mental and tactile learning. Depending on what kind of learner your child is, they will either count out the pencils using their hands, or they may visually scan the table and count in their head. This helps to build their confidence in their learning technique rather the traditional list of questions using a pencil and paper.



Author: Sim K


Sim K


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