Games That Make Math Fun for Kids

Complex math formulas on whiteboard. Mathematics and science with economics concept. Real equations, symbols handwritten by a professional. Credit: iStock

Math isn’t on everyone’s list of favorite subjects, but even if it’s not your kids' favorite subject, you can help them learn to enjoy it a little more with a few online games. With math there are formulas and rules to learn and some basic tips that make concepts easier to understand. Kids will only become involved with math if there's a fun way to learn and practice math concepts. Here are some online games that can help kids learn math and have fun at the same time.

Free Online Games

Math games found online use basic graphics so you can play in your browser but the point of these games isn’t to grab your attention. They’re designed to train your brain and challenge your math skills, and more importantly they take the tedium out of doing endless drills taught at school that tend to make children count up in sets of numbers (20 plus 20 plus 20 for example). Making learning part of a game gets the child to try harder than they would if it was part of a test and they’ll learn quicker too.

Addition War

Games like Addition War and Subtraction War teach children ways to add in a far more intuitive way than normal drills that ask kids to add in a cluster of numbers. Addition War pits two or more players against one another. This game uses a 52 card deck which is split evenly between both players. Each player turns two cards up and then adds the numbers of the cards together. The winner of each turn is the one with the highest number. They take the loser's cards into their pack. The overall winner is the player who captures all of the cards.

Go Fish

Getting a collection of numbers to add to 10 and then adding them together can make addition far simpler. If you’re asked to add 13 to 28 for example, you should add 10 to 20 and then add three to eight and you’ll make the addition easier to carry out. A game like Go Fish teaches this lesson to kids. You play with a collection of cards that are numbers from zero to 10. You’ll need four of each number for a total of 44 cards. You’ll also need four cards with “Wild” written on them. The object of the game is to find pairs of cards that make 10. You’ll find online versions that outline all the rules but basically, the game is won when all the cards are paired.

Pyramid

Pyramid is another game that helps kids to count up to 10. It also uses a regular deck of cards which are set out in a pyramid shape. The object of the game is to make 10 by adding together two cards. You can only take two cards from the bottom row of the pyramid to begin with but that row has more cards so there’s more chance of finding the cards you’re looking for. The object of the game is to remove all the cards but the game can also be over when the remaining cards can’t be matched to make 10.

Hungry Fish

Rather than doing extra math homework, get your child to play a game on your phone, tablet or PC like Hungry Fish. This game’s fun and colorful so kids aged four and over will be able to enjoy learning with it. The object of the game is to match two numbered bubbles to make a sum as your fish swims through the water. You can customize the fish’s color and fins which helps children to become involved in the game, and if you download of iOS or Android, the game can be played wherever you are.

Learning Tools

There are lots of tools online that help teachers and pupils to learn. Most are formal and can make the child feel like they’re back at school which is why these math games always present themselves as games first and math second. Take Five Dice for example. This is a simple game that people have played in their living rooms for decades. Each player has five dice. After each throw of the dice, any dice that rolls a five is removed from the player who also has to sum the total of the other dice added together. Each player takes their turn until no player has any dice left, at which point the player with the highest total is the winner.