Practice Math Facts with Math Card Games

Playing math card games helps children reinforce basic mathematical skills. This elementary math activity also provides children with opportunity for math facts practice in a fun and entertaining setting.

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Math flash cards always come to our mind when we look up card games for our kids to learn math. There is no need to confine ourselves to just flash cards. We can play many different math games using playing cards.

Have a group of children play the card games together. Competing to win in the game gives the kids thrill and excitement.  Playing card games also train them to:
-    learn about the relationship of numbers
-    work with and see numbers differently
-    use numbers in different combinations to achieve a goal
-    develop strategies using math skills

Here are some math card games using playing cards.

For ease of calculation, remove all kings, queens, jacks and jokers before playing most math games.


Math Card Games for Grade 1 - 3

Addition War Game

Each player takes three cards from the stack. Total up the numbers on three cards and see whose score is the highest.

Depending on the level of the kids, start with two cards if we are playing it as a 1st grade math game. Start with more cards if we play it as a 3rd or 4th grade math game. Increase the number of cards to challenge the children if necessary.

We can also vary the game - who can add up the fastest is the winner.

Kids learn to do mental arithmetic fast and accurate with this game.


Variation of Addition War Game



Subtraction War Game

To do subtraction, we just need to improvise.

Each player takes three cards from the stack. Pair up the number from two cards and subtract the number from the third card.

For example, the numbers on three cards are eight, ten and six. The pair up number for eight and ten is eighty. Then, deduct six from eighty.


Examples of more Subtraction War Games



Multiplication War Game

Each child takes two cards from the stack. Multiply the two numbers from each card. The child with the highest score or provide the fastest and correct answer is the winner.


More Multiplication War Games



Playing multiplication card game is more appropriate for 3rd to 4th graders. The kids should already know timetables before playing this game.



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Playing cards is not limited to basic math operation; we can use it for young kids.

Math Card Games for Preschoolers

Number Comparison - Greater than or Smaller than

Divide the cards in the stack between the players. Place the cards face down. Each player turns over one card and compares who has the largest number will be the winner.

Children learn about number value. They learn which number is larger or smaller than another number from this math card game.


Number Recognition Memory Game

Spread out all the cards face down. Each child take turns to flip two cards at one time. If both cards turn up to be the same number, the kid gets to keep both cards. Flip back the cards to face down if both cards are of different number. The child with most cards is the winner.

This simple game is suitable for any young kids who already know how to recognize number one to ten.




Math Card Games for Grade 3 and Beyond

Super Sums

The objective of this game is to be the first to cross off all the numbers on the list.
Each player writes the numbers 1-12 on a piece of paper.

Use only cards 1-6 in every suit (hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds). Each player picks two cards and adds up the numbers on them. Players can choose to mark off the numbers on the list by using the total value or crossing off two or three numbers that make that value.

For example, if a player picks a 5 and a 6, the player can choose to cross out 11, or 5 and 6, or 7 and 4, or 8 and 3, or 9 and 2, or 10 and 1, or 1, 2, and 8.


Get to ONE HUNDRED

Take out all the cards from the deck except ace through 6. Each player draws 8 cards from the deck. Each player decides whether to use a card in the tens place or the ones place so that the numbers total as close to 100 as possible without going over.

For example, if a player draws two 1s (aces), a 2, a 5, two 3s, a 4, and a 6. Player can choose to use the numerals in the following way:

30, 40, 10, 5, 6, 1, 3, 2. This adds up to 97.

Who can make the closest to 100 or the fastest to give a number will be the winner.


Making Numbers

Use the cards from 1 (ace)-9. Deal 4 cards out with the numbers showing. Using all four cards, make any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

See how many different answers each player can get in 5 minutes. Get them to write the different answers down on a piece of paper.

For example, if the cards drawn are 4, 8, 9, and 2. The combination of numbers
can be made are:

     4+9+8+2=23
     4+9-(8+2)=3
     (8-4)x(9-2)=28
     (9-8)x(4-2)=2


Make the Largest Possible

Use only cards from 1(ace) to 9. Each player alternates drawing one card at a time, trying to create the largest 5-digit number possible. As the cards are drawn, each player puts the cards down in their "place" (ten thousands, thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones) with the numbers showing. One round goes until each player has 6 cards. At that point, each player chooses one card to throw out to make the largest 5-digit number possible.

Fraction Fun

Play this game with cards 1 (ace)-10, and 2 players. Separate the cards into two decks. Each player receives one deck of the cards. Players turn over 2 cards each at the same time. Each player tries to make the largest fraction by putting the 2 cards together. The players compare their fractions to see whose is larger.

For example, if player A turns a 1 and a 5, he can make the fraction 1/5; if the other player turns a 2 and an 8, he can make the fraction 2/8.

Determine who has the largest fraction. The player with larger fraction takes all cards. Continue playing until one player has all the cards.



Playing cards is one of the most versatile teaching mathematics tools available. Math card game is one of the best games for developing math skills for our children.

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