Looking for simple and fun math card games to engage your learners? Playing games is a great way to engage kids who hate math drills (and a fun way for anyone to review important skills!). Here you’ll find some cool math card games, organized by theme!
Are you in search of enjoyable and uncomplicated math card games to captivate your students? Incorporating games into your teaching approach can be a fantastic method for involving children who despise traditional math exercises (and it’s an enjoyable way for everyone to reinforce crucial skills).
In this article, we’ve gathered a selection of cool math card games, conveniently categorized by math concepts!
Benefits Of Math Cards Games
Occasionally, board games can be unwieldy, filled with numerous components, or require a significant investment. However, there’s a simple, portable, and cost-effective alternative that’s always at your disposal: a deck of playing cards.
A standard deck of cards opens the door to a myriad of math games suitable for students of all skill levels. Moreover, each game offers the flexibility to adjust its difficulty level, making it easier, more challenging, or even more intricate, depending on your preferences.
Whether you’re on a road trip, dining out at a restaurant, or simply unwinding at home, you can bring your math studies with you, all with the convenience of a standard deck of playing cards!
Please note: In these games, Aces are valued at 1, and Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Jokers are typically removed, unless otherwise specified.
3 Types Of Math Card Games For Kids
Math Concept: Arithmetic (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division)
- 24 Card Game
In this game, every player receives four cards from the deck, and their challenge is to utilize all four cards, employing fundamental arithmetic operations (+, -, ×, ÷), to construct an equation that results in the value 24.
This engaging activity not only stimulates the application of all four mathematical operations but also introduces the use of parentheses and the principles of the order of operations (PEMDAS).
- 3 Card Game
To set up the game, place the cards face down in a row. Players then take turns flipping over three cards. If a player can form a valid mathematical equation using the numbers on the three cards, they get to keep those cards. For example, if a player reveals cards with the numbers 2, 5, and 10, they can say “2 x 5 = 10.”
Players are allowed to use addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (x), or division (÷) in their number sentences. If it’s not possible to create a valid number sentence with the three cards, the player must turn them face down again.
The game continues until either all the cards have been collected or only a few cards are left, and no valid number sentence can be formed using those remaining cards. The winner is the player who accumulates the most cards.
- Pyramid Card Game
To get started, take a standard deck of playing cards, shuffle them, and construct a 7-row pyramid with 28 cards placed face up. The remaining cards form the draw pile.
Initially, only the unobstructed cards at the bottom of the pyramid can be played. This means that you can only consider the bottom 7 cards until you start removing them.
You are allowed to remove cards that sum up to 10, with a maximum of two cards being removed at a time. For instance, you can take away a single card with a value of 10, or you can remove a pair of cards whose values add up to 10, like 6 and 4. However, you cannot remove three cards, even if their combined value is 10, such as 2, 4, and 4. When there are no more available open cards to combine into a total of 10, you must draw a card from the draw pile.
Continue playing until all cards not part of the original pyramid have been revealed, or until you run out of cards to play, meaning no further card combinations can add up to ten. The score is determined by the number of remaining cards, and a lower score indicates a better performance!
Math Concept: Place Value
- “Closest To” Card Game
This game provides an excellent opportunity for young math learners to hone their skills in comparing digits, from ones and tens to hundreds and beyond. Commencing with a two-digit number, each player is given two cards. The objective is to arrange these cards to form a number as close to 50 as possible.
Afterward, players unveil their hands to one another, and the player whose number is closest to 50 emerges victorious, claiming the cards from all participants. The game proceeds by dealing two more cards to each player, and this continues until the entire deck is utilized. The player with the most cards at the game’s conclusion is declared the winner.
If you wish to add complexity, you can opt for dealing three cards to each player in every round, and the goal would be to create a number closest to 500. Alternatively, you can introduce unique target numbers like 88, 252, or even 3567 for an added challenge and variation.
- Rounding Card Game
In this game, students pair up and employ playing cards ranging from Ace (1) through 9. The deck is positioned face down on the game board, and each player selects two cards from it.
The players’ objective is to round the numbers on their chosen cards to the nearest ten, and this rounded number becomes their score. The player with the higher score wins the round and collects all four cards involved.
In the event of a tie, the students each reclaim their respective two cards. The player who accumulates the most cards by the end of the game emerges as the ultimate winner.
Math Concepts: Fractions And Decimals
- Compare Card Game
The objective of this game is to promote discussions involving the comparison of fractions with varying numerators and denominators. The game begins by setting the target number at zero, and the player who can achieve the smallest score (closest to zero) wins the round.
To play, deal three cards to each player. Players must select two cards to form a fraction: one card serves as the numerator, and the other as the denominator. Players take turns revealing their created fractions, engaging in discussions about who has the lowest score and the reasoning behind it. The player with the lowest score gathers everyone’s cards as their score for that round and sets them aside. Deal three cards to each player once more and repeat the process.
For students who may be less confident with fractions, you can adapt the rules to make the game more approachable. For instance, consider allowing players to use two cards to create a new numerator or denominator through addition or subtraction. Alternatively, you can deal four cards to each player and specify that they must creatively use all four cards in their fraction creations.
- Make Big Money Card Game
The game employs a complete deck of cards, where A represents $0.01, Two represents $0.02, Three represents $0.03, and so forth, with Ten equating to $0.10, J representing $0.11, Q representing $0.12, and K signifying $0.13.
To commence the game, the deck is thoroughly shuffled, and each player is dealt ten cards. Subsequently, players take turns drawing and discarding one card at a time, doing so until the deck is exhausted, or a player accumulates precisely $1.00.
The player who first amasses ten cards worth $1.00 wins the round and earns 1 point. If no player achieves this goal by the end of the game, the player who comes closest to $1.00 (or not) receives 0.5 points. After ten rounds, the player with the highest score emerges as the overall winner!
This game encourages the use of logic and problem-solving skills as children must determine which cards to keep, which to discard, and strategize how to reach the target of $1.00.
Tips For Math Card Games
None of the game rules mentioned above are set in stone. You have the flexibility to adapt and customize the rules based on the particular teaching progress and the conditions of your students, making the game more accessible and engaging.
Because, it’s more beneficial to explore games that have a higher likelihood of being successful and offer greater opportunities for achievement, as opposed to games that only occasionally succeed and more frequently result in failure.
In cases where traditional playing cards are not readily accessible, you can also hand-make digital cards or even customize flash card math games for your own lessons!