Ideas for Making Math Fun

Author: Donna Mumma

Learning basic math skills can be as dull as dishwater. Announcing it’s time to practice them in your classroom is sure to be met with moans, groans, and eye rolls from your students. Building strong computation skills matched with speed and accuracy through daily drills is a necessity but can get boring for both educators and their pupils. These games offer a way to do both and add some fun into the process.

Ideas for Making Math Fun

What you need:

  • A deck of playing cards
  • Pencils
  • Paper for students to write the problems on

Game #1 – Add A Pair (Ideal for ages 5-7)

This first game provides practice for basic addition skills.

1. Divide your students into pairs.
2. Give each pair a deck of cards.
3. One student draws two cards from the deck and calls out the numbers on the front.
4. Working with their partner, they create addition problems with these numbers and write them on paper.
5. Next, the partner draws two cards and creates a new problem. The game continues until all the cards in their deck have been used.

When working with younger students, you can remove numbers greater than five until they can add numbers beyond ten.

To take this game a step further, you can introduce the idea that when two numbers are added together, their order in the problem can be switched without affecting the final sum. (2+4 will have the same sum as 4+2). Have students share examples of this from their papers.

Game #2-Triple Mix Up (Ideal for ages 7-9)

This second game is suited for those students able to add multiple numbers together.

1. Divide your students into pairs and give them a deck of cards.
2. The first player draws three cards and writes down the numbers from the front of the cards.
3. Working with their partner, they create a math problem by adding the numbers together (2+4+5=11).
4. Students work together to arrange the numbers in as many calculations as possible (4+2+5=11, 5+4+2=11, 2+5+4=11).
5. Each partner takes a turn drawing cards and writing down problems until all the cards have been used.

Double Digit Tricks (Ideal for ages 7-10)

This game offers practice in adding numbers with two digits.

1. Divide the students into pairs and give them a deck of cards.
2. Have them draw four cards from the deck.
3. Students then use those cards to create two-digit numbers that can be added together (2, 5, 3, 2 can become 25+32).
4. Have the students work together to create different combinations of the four numbers, writing each in an addition problem (53+22, 35+22, 52+23, etc.).
5. Once they have found all the addition combinations for those numbers, they draw four more and continue until they run out of cards.

Basic math skills can be boring. Mixing these games into your lesson plans gives students the necessary practice and demonstrates that math can be fun! For more ideas on how to make learning more fun check out “Skip Counting Booklets.”

About the Author

Donna MummaDonna Mumma is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. An avid believer in education, she holds a BAE and an M.Ed. in elementary education from the University of Florida and is a retired teacher and former homeschool mom. She is a member of Word Weavers International and serves as a mentor for chapters across the country. Donna perfected her storytelling skills in her first-grade classroom, spinning yarns exciting enough to settle a roomful of antsy six-year-olds. A native Floridian, she now lives on the west coast of Florida, enjoying time with her husband, adult children, and their energetic collie named Duke.

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