Family-friendly Games for Developing Math Skills

Games are the key to providing a fun and successful learning environment at Mathnasium. Games that help to develop number sense and math concepts can help students overcome their math fears while having funs with friends and family.

Mathnasium expert Bobby Tarnowski shares a few of his favorite math games and the skills they can help to develop:

On the go

Forehead Math:  Played with a regular deck of cards (remove the face cards and jokers), this game can be played with one or more players and can be adapted to your child’s abilities. Used with both regular and reverse forms of questioning, this game can help develop math fluency and problem solving skills. Instructions for play can be found online here.

24 Game Add, subtract, multiply and divide using the four numbers on a game card to make the number 24. This game helps develop math fluency and problem solving ability.

Farkle The travel version comes in a small cup that fits easily in a purse or glove compartment. Easy to play, Farkle develops addition skills and a student’s understanding of chance. This game is readily available in stores or online.

At home

CountDown! Available in two and four-player versions, this game is a fun way of practicing basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

CribbageIn my opinion, there is no better game for developing an array of foundational math skills than Cribbage. This game can take some time to learn entirely, but with a little creativity it’s adaptable for younger ages. (My 6-year old enjoys counting 15’s and finding runs and pairs.) This game helps develop awareness and skills in multiple forms of counting, complements, combinations, sequences, patterns, and even probabilities. A great game for the creative and patient adult to play with children.

Bingo: Easy to learn and play! With its columns of numbers, Bingo is good for introducing students to grouping and organization of numbers.

Battleship: This competition takes a little longer to play, but really develops reasoning skills and concepts of organization in arrays of rows and columns.

Mastermind: Mastermind is great for developing understanding of patterns and problem solving skills.

S’Math or Equate: This game is the math-equivalent of scrabble, providing great practice not just for basic computation, but also for constructing math equations.

Bunko or Yahtzee: These games are particularly exciting for students, and help students understand addition and chance. I recommend playing with larger groups.