DIY Math Games Invented by Kids (2nd-5th grade)

Math Fact Games for Kids Invented by Kids

I was talking to the Solostream founder; they are the makers of my blog template (I use WP-Sublime) and he was telling me about this game his 8-year-old son made up that is simple to assemble and great for stretching the mind.  It’s actually a number theory game and gets the kids rolling numbers around in their brains by using dice to create little math puzzles.  They give this game to their teachers as an end-of-the-year gift.  It’s wonderful in that it combines adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and exponents into a fun and easily portable game.  It would be perfect to carry around and break out while you wait for your meal to arrive at a restaurant!  His son carries the 5 dice in his pocket at all times!

You need 5 dice:  2 twelve-sided dice and 3 six-sided dice.  I bought mine at Lakeshore Learning; a teachers’ supply store and it’s also online.

Roll the two twelve-sided dice and multiply the two number together.  Remember this number; you will try to hit this number by manipulating the other 3 dice.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice.

Now, use the 3 numbers on the six-dice in any combination of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing or exponentially to get the first number.


I  roll 3 and 5 with the twelve-sided dice.  3 x 5 = 15.  I need to get 15 out the other 3 dice.

I roll the 3 six-sided dice and get:  2, 5 and 5.

I can get 15 by:  2 x 5 + 5 = 15.  Yay!  Your turn next!

My oldest invented the second game and strangely, she was also 8-years-old at the time.  It’s a variation of Go Fish to practice adding or subtracting math facts.  You take two or more decks of cards and remove all the face cards and we also remove the 10 cards.  This is the adding game:

Shuffle and pass out 7 cards to each player.

The person will the most cards of the same number goes first.

This person calls out a number that their cards make.  (say 15 because they have a 9 and a 6 card).

I check my cards to see if I can make 15 out of  ANY COMBINATION OF CARDS IN MY HAND.  I have two 4 cards and a 7 card so I must give these cards up and my opponent gets to remove her 9 and 6 card and take my 4, 4, and 7 card into her “winnings” pile.

If I can’t make 15 out of any combination of my cards, my opponent gets to take a card from the pile.

If anyone uses up all their cards, they take 7 more cards from the pile.

We do this until all the cards in the draw stack are gone.  We usually play with 4 decks.

The winner with the most cards in their “winnings” pile wins, BUT you have to count your cards by skip counting:  3’s, 4’s, 6’s, 7’s etc.

You do the same game with subtraction.  It’s surprising more challenging though!

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Elizabeth

    This is a great idea, thanks for the tip. My son has always had a tough time concentrating with math and my nephew is good at math but tends to get lazy when having to do his homework.

    This should be a sure thing to work!

  2. Bec

    Thanks for this! Another free resource for math is:
    It provides a range of math teaching resources, math games, and hands-on math activities for K through 5th grade and all activities are correlated with the Common Core State Standards.

  3. please use this website it is a very good and fantasic website

  4. i love things like these. kids generally know how they learn best and what is most entertaining. i love hearing about the creative things they come up with. thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday.
    andiejaye recently posted…Sukkah decorations from Delicate ConstructionsMy Profile

  5. Nadia

    These are fantastic ideas! I will incorporate these games in my classroom for when students are finished their work.
    Thank you!

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