Once we discovered how fun games make our homeschool, I started to invest in them. You can find many used, or on sale too. I specifically look for ones that use addition and subtraction because I have an almost 2nd and 3rd grader.
Math games are perfect when you need a day off your curriculum, for family game night if it’s fun enough, and for keeping math skills up over the summer if you take a longer break.
If my kids like a game enough to play by themselves with each other…big bonus for the game! Start by adding 1 or 2 to the mix. Play them often, and then try a new one. If you get too many at once it’s overwhelming!
Check out our 1st and 2nd grade curriculum choices for the 2021-2022 school year here. And here’s our curriculum picks from when we had a kindergartener and 1st grader during 2020-2021 school year. You can find my homeschool resource page here.
Using math games in your homeschool
I love games because it’s one of the main ways I can connect and be playful with my 8 year old son.
It’s no secret that it’s easy to lose sight of “connection over curriculum” (for me). Games are a way for us to be playful and for me to do something more fun when I’m feeling homeschool burnout.
When we play, we are chatting and laughing and learning to! He doesn’t even think of the games we have as part of school! They are fun. What’s happening when we play is that math becomes relevant!
So give yourself permission to buy one new math game for the days when you need to reconnect. And if your kid isn’t into it and prefers a non math game that day…that’s okay too. There’s plenty more days to try pulling out a math game later.
Math games for kindergarten level (that also transition into 1st grade)
- Teaches place value, counting, addition, and subtraction
- Ages 5+, depending on math skill
- Counting, Simple Addition, Number Sense And Word Recognition Skills
- Ages 4+
- 72 double sided cards plus a zingo board
Tiny Polka Dot
- 16 Easy to learn games, clearly market for age level (a few for age 4+, 5+,6+, and 7+)
- Matching games, addition games, making pairs, memory games, and much, more.
- High quality cards.
- Nice tiny box (could easily fit in your purse)
- Kids exposed to 10 frames, numbers 1-10, dots up to 10 in different arrangements, and dice style cards.
- My preschooler adores this. We will use it more in kindergarten, and there’s games suitable for 1st grade too.
- Works on counting skills, and strategy as kids have to decide which piece to move each turn.
- My kids ALL love this game. Ages 5-8 and I know it’s not going out of style at age 9 😉
- You “pop” the dice which is weirdly satisfying, then send your counter around the board that many spaces.
Math games for 1st and 2nd grade level using addition and subtraction
Tri-facta addition and subtraction version
- Ages 6-10
- Kids create number bonds and fact families
- Goal is to be the 1st to play all your cards
- Includes triangle game board, 100 cards (facts up to 20), and 4 trays
- Compliments Singapore Math and Math With Confidence well (probably any math curriculum but these are the 2 we use)
- Ages 6+
- Addition/subtraction within 10 plus strategy
- One of our favorites!
- Win by collecting 50 points or 5 queens first
- Kids are dealt cards. Each turn you play and draw. You try to wake up a sleeping queen by playing a king card. The more cards you can get rid of, the more you can draw your next turn to hopefully get more king cards.
- For younger kids, you can keep cards facing up. For more of a challenge, kids can hold and hide their cards.
- Get the 10th anniversary addition, as it comes with bonus queens and kings making it more fun.
Math Jr. Dice Game
- Comes with extra large dice and a small bag
- We like this game a lot!
- Ages 6+
- Easy to learn and tiny to store.
- You roll all the dice. Then add or subtract as many of the colored dice to equal the number on the white die. The more of the colored dice you can include, the more spaces you can move your counter on the game board.
- Ages 8+
- Dice game using addition AND strategy
- Each player takes turn rolling the dice, and has 2 actions/turn. If you don’t cross out any numbers on your turn, you get a penalty (-5 points).
- The first action is to add up the white dice. ALL players can cross off that number on their sheets in any color row, or pass.
- The second action is ONLY for the roller. They can cross out a number on their sheet that matches the sum of 1 white die plus 1 colored die. This is where much of the math comes into play, because there are 8 possible combos each time you can add (with 2 white dice and 4 colored).
- This game is one of my favorites! But do try playing on your own 1-2 times without the kids to read through the rules and such.
Sums in Space
- Can be a collaborative game (our favorite way to play) or not, with instructions for each
- Adds and subtracts within 20, with even and odd practice
- Kids roll dice that tell them what to add or subtract. They count spaces on the board and try not to get caught in the black holes. First one to the end wins. Or the collaborative rules have them both get to the finish line before the rocket gets to 10 (which happens with each zero rolled)
- Says ages 5+, though I found 6+ better. For an easier version, without evens and odds, try Sum Swamp
- Combining number cards to make combos of 100 (all numbers end if a 5 or 0)
- Ages 8+
- Kids can steal number stacks from the other player if they can stack a card on top that adds to make 100
- Cards constantly changing hands
- Goal is to have the most cards at the end.
- 15 minutes/game
- Not a collaborative game
Spin offs of clumsy thief:
- Same idea, but adding cards that make 10
- Ages 5+
- Adding card combos of 20
- My kids liked this one
- Ages 8+
- Add card combos of 25
- Ages 8+
- Adding card combos of 12
- Ages 7+
- 2nd-3rd grade math level
- Kids roll and pick a card of the color they land on
- you can adapt to skill level by skipping cards that are too hard. We skipped multiplication and division cards ( there’s plenty of cards)
- includes problem solving, doodling, body movements like jumping
- You only go forward if you get the math right…so to keep it fun I help my son figure out how to do the math he needs to get it correct. It’s a learning game…so use it to teach math they don’t know!
- I loved Yatzee as a kid. And still do as an adult!
- Strategy plus math game
- Roll the dice 3X/turn, re-rolling dice needed for combinations like “3’s” or “small straight”, or “4 of a kind”.
- Player with the most points wins!
- My 1st grader can do math here by adding dice combinations, but I have to help her with strategy and adding up the end points.
- My 2nd grader practices adding up all the points at the end with me. Lots of math!
- Crossword style play making equations with tiles
- Ages 7+
Math games for 3rd grade and older
- Ages 9+
- Fast paced
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots
- Adaptable rules for younger kids
- 100 number cards included, prime numbers excluded
- Ages 9+
- Players add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
- Factorization and prime numbers
Math games that work on patterns and shapes (for 1st grade and up)
- Easy to follow rules
- Build lines by matching tiles of the same color or shape
- Players make color/pattern connections
- Uses spacial planning, strategy, and problem solving
- Simple strategy game.
- One of my favorites, 🙂
- Similar to checkers where you use strategy to flip your opponents pieces
- Win by having the most pieces of your color on the board
- Relaxing to play, little talking needed so it makes a great quiet game
- Players add 1 piece to the board per turn. Goal is to flip opponents color in a row or column to your color by having your piece on both ends of your opponents.
- Great for ages 6+
- Similar to Uno but more challenging
- Win by discarding your whole pile as fast as your can
- Discard if you can match color, number, or pattern (so one more variable if comparing this to UNO, and this is a speed game unlike UNO)
- Kids build 3d structures from the booklet using the blocks provided.
- 1 person at a time works best for this.
- Kids pick a 3d image in the booklet to create with blocks from the box. They have to figure out how to build it with only the blocks allowed.
- Easy, medium, and hard challenges.
- My 5,7, and 8 year old can all do this at varying levels.
Independent math practice
Brain Quest Math cards have 1000 math questions and answers based on grade. Cards are bound together so need to fear a bunch of loose cards.
If your child can read, they can likely do this themselves. This would be great for road trips, quiet time basket, or you could read the questions out loud to your kids for fun.
Try this game based 6 week math curriculum (+ it’s cheap!)
if you have a 1st or 2nd grader (or 3rd grader needing review), we LOVE read my full review here.
Btw, it’s got 6 fun games that my kids found very fun! They play one game a week, 1-2 times/day while practicing addition facts from +1 all the way up to +9.
Her game boards are in the book, but you will need a deck of cards.