1. Try for a total of 10.
This game can be played alone or with a group. Lay 20 cards out on the table (leave out face cards or change them to equal 0 and aces to equal 1). Have the kids remove sets of cards that total up to 10. The goal is to try and remove all the cards from the table.
2. Declare a fraction war
Students deal two cards, one is a numerator and the other a denominator. Then determine whose fraction is the largest. The winner then gets to keep all four cards. The game is played until all the cards are gone.
3. Learn numbers with card bingo
First remove all of the face cards from the deck. Have each student/child lay out a 4 x 4 playing “board” of cards. Place all the remaining cards face down in a pile in the middle. A caller picks a card and calls it out. Any player who has that number on their board turns the card face down. The game continues until one player has a row flipped over and calls “bingo”!
4. Find a way to make 10 (or 15, or 20)
The original goal of this game was to look at cards you’re dealt and find ones that add up to 10, but it can be changed to 15, 20, or any number you choose. You can also add to the difficulty by allowing addition and subtraction.
5. Practice number sequencing with builder’s paradise.
To play builder’s paradise, discard the face cards and lay out the 4 sevens in a deck side by side. In each round, players work to add the next higher or lower number in each suit, trying to be the first to get rid of all their cards. The full game is explained here.
6. Do some basic fast facts practice.
Give the flash cards a rest and practice your math facts with card games. Simply lay down two cards from the deck (first removing the face cards) and add subtract, or multiply them. Kids can work on this alone or you can make it a contest to see who can call out the correct answer first!
7. Play pyramid solitaire alone or in teams.
Some versions of solitaire are really just sneaky math card games, and pyramid is one! Try to find cards that add up to 10 as you clear your pyramid row by row.
8. Go fishing for pairs that make 10.
Fish for pairs that add up to 10 by asking, “I have a 2. Do you have an 8 to make 10?” Change aces to 1 for this game and leave face cards out entirely.
9. Challenge them to beat the teacher.
Practice place value by drawing cards and trying to build the largest number possible. Kids play against the teacher to see who wins! Get the full rules here!
10. Use closer call to practice two-digit addition or subtraction.
Each player deals themselves four cards then determines how to arrange them so they make two two-digit numbers that add up to close to 100 without going over. For a subtraction version, work to get as close to zero as possible.
11. Use order of operations to get to 24
Each player is dealt four cards, then uses the order-of-operations rules to try to make a number as close to 24 as possible.
12. Let card color indicate negative or positive.
In this game, red cards are negative integers while black cards are positive. Students attempt to play pairs of cards that total 6 or -6. You can change the goal number as needed.
13. Take a trip around the card spiral to practice math fact.
You’ll need a pair of dice for this game as well. Lay cards out randomly in a spiral formation and set a marker for each player on the center card. Player one rolls the dice then moves their piece the number that is shown. They then must multiple (or add/subtract) the card number by the number on the dice. If they get the answer correct, they stay where they are. If not, they return to their original card.
14. Take a gamble with triple-digit dare.
Each player gets three cards and privately determines the highest three-digit number they can make. Then, each player has a turn to stick with the cards they have, swap with one from the deck, or steal one of the other player’s. All players then lay down their best number to see who wins.
15. Try reading minds to figure out the correct numbers.
Two students draw a card from the deck without looking and hold it up to their forehead facing out. A third student mentally multiplies the numbers and gives them the product. The students then must figure out what number each is holding. You can do this with addition and subtraction as well.