Math Games for Kids


Play geometrical toothpicks.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Math games for kids don't have to be daunting -- in fact, these are fun and challenging. There are plenty of games from brain-teasers, simple addition, sorting shapes, to a game to play along with while watching television.

The best part is that your kids can play some of these math games either alone or with friends. Many of the games have variations, so if they complete one part of the game, there are bound to be other options.

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Follow the links below to learn how to play math games for kids:

Two-by-Two

Try to find pairs of items found naturally in nature.

Penny Pyramid

Create a three-dimensional pyramid composed entirely of hundreds of pennies.

Weight of Wealth

Find out if different denominations of a dollar weigh different amounts.

How Many Squares?

See if your children can figure out exactly how many squares are found on a simple checkerboard.

Triangulation

Your children can compete against their friends to see who can draw triangles the fastest.

TV Tag with Numbers

Find numbers zero through ten in numerical order by surfing the television.

Giant Maze

Your kids can design a large maze for their friends to complete.

Mankala Counting Game

Use a cardboard egg carton for your kids to play this counting game that originated in Africa.

Pencil Patterns

By using unsharpened pencils, your children will be amazed at all the shapes and designs they can create.

Puzzles for Five Squares

Try to find the 12 shapes your children can make with using five squares cut out of construction paper.

Toothpick Squares

Figure out how many toothpicks it takes to make one, two, or even three squares.

Geometrical Toothpicks

Build three-dimensional geometric shapes with just modeling clay and toothpicks.

Geo Board

With a piece of wood, nails, and rubber bands, your children can create shapes over and over again.

Triangle Treat

Colorful card stock cut into triangles will allow your kids to create numerous shapes and designs.

Keep reading for your kids to learn how to find pairs of items right in your own backyard.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Two-by-Two

Do your kids ever notice how many items can be found two-by-two in nature? Walk around your neighborhood to find numerous natural pairs.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper pad
  • Pens or pencils

How to Play Two-by-Two:

Step 1: ­Round up your kids, and take a walk around your house, your yard, your neighborhood. How many things can they find that seem to come in pairs?

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Step 2: Did they run out of twos? Have them look for natural fours or dozens or hundreds. Compare your children's list with one of their friend's. This also makes a great party game for teams.

Keep reading to learn how to make cents with a pyramid of pennies.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Penny Pyramid

Make sure you have hundreds of pennies to complete your penny pyramid.
Make sure you have hundreds of pennies to complete your penny pyramid.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Your kids can stack up their riches into a three-dimensional penny pyramid that makes cents.

What You'll Need:

  • Several hundred pennies

How to Play Penny Pyramid:

Step 1: Have your children set out a square of pennies 10 pennies long and 10 pennies wide. Then have them make a 8 x 8-penny square on top of the original square, leaving the outside edge only one penny high.

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Step 2: They should repeat the process with an 6 x 6-penny square, leaving the outside square one penny high, the next square two pennies high.

Step 3: Have them continue until the center four pennies are the highest, and then add a triangle of pennies to that layer. Then have them add a single penny in the center to top off the pyramid. Can your kids figure out how many pennies they used? Make sure they wash their hands before and after they play.

Keep reading to learn how much different denominations of a dollar weigh.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Weight of Wealth

Find out the weight of wealth when your children determine how much a dollar in different coin denominations weighs.

What You'll Need:

  • Counted coins
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Grocery store scale

How to Play Weight of Wealth:

Step 1: Have your children bundle up a dollar's worth of pennies in a sturdy plastic sandwich bag. Do the same for nickels, dimes, and quarters.

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Step 2: ­Make a trip to your local grocery store, and, after asking permission from an employee, weigh them on the fruit scale. Make sure your children jot down the weights in ounces. Now calculate how much $5.00 would weigh. How about $10.00 or $100.00?

Keep reading to learn how to count exactly how many squares are on a checkerboard.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

How Many Squares?

It sounds easier than it is, but have your children figure out exactly how many squares there really are on a checkerboard.

What You'll Need:

  • Checkerboard

How to Play How Many Squares:

Step 1: Your kids can easily see all the small squares on a checkerboard, but don't let them forget about all the other squares that are made by combining the small ones. Don't just count the small squares -- count every square. That means each small square counts as one square.

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Step 2: A hint for your children is that each group of four squares becomes a bigger square, and is counted as one square. And then each group of 16 squares becomes another square that is counted. Count them all.

Step 3: Try this one day and then on another day -- did your children come up with the same number of squares each time? Keep trying!

Keep reading to learn how to your kids can race their friends in a triangle game.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Triangulation

In triangulation, it's a race for your kids against their friends to draw triangles, so try to see who will make the most.

What You'll Need:

  • Sheet of white, unlined paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencils

How to Play Triangulation:

Step 1: This is a game for two or three players. With the ruler and a pencil, the first player makes a small triangle in the center of the paper. The player's score for that turn is one, since one triangle was formed.

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Step 2: The second player is allowed to make three lines with the ruler and pencil. They may make the lines anywhere they like.

Step 3: If they make them around the first triangle, with two sides overlapping two sides of the first triangle, their score is two; one for the triangle they made and one for the triangle within the triangle they just made. By overlapping lines, they also set up an interesting opportunity for multiple scores in the future.

Step 4: Play continues with each player making three moves and scoring according to the number of triangles contained in the triangle just formed. The game ends when players run out of room on the paper.

Keep reading to learn how your children can watch TV and learn numbers at the same time.

For more cool crafts and activities for kids, check out:

TV Tag with Numbers

Encourage your children to tune in to a game of TV tag with numbers to study their numbers and watch their favorite television shows.

What You'll Need:

  • Blank paper
  • Remote control
  • Pens or pencils

How to Play TV Tag with Numbers:

Step 1: Using a remote control, have your kids flip through the channels until they see the number one on the screen -- either as a number or spelled out. It could be in an address, an advertisement, or a cartoon or live-action program.

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Step 2: Once they score the one, move on to finding a two, three, four, and so on. The first player to find the numbers one through ten is the winner. If they are playing alone, try to have them beat their own best time.

Keep reading to learn how your kids can create their own maze for their friends to solve.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Giant Maze

Your kids can design their own giant maze, and challenge their friends to complete it the fastest.
Your kids can design their own giant maze, and challenge their friends to complete it the fastest.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Have your children create a giant maze, and challenge their friends to see who can get through it the quickest.

What You'll Need:

  • Bristol board or light- to medium-weight cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Small-tipped black marker
  • Clear vinyl adhesive paper
  • Wax crayon (optional)

How to Make a Giant Maze:

Step 1: Have your kids use a pencil to draw a maze on a large piece of bristol board or light- to medium-weight cardboard. They should draw the correct route through the maze (all the way to the exit) first.

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Step 2: They might want to get ideas for drawing their maze from other mazes they find in coloring books or activity books. Then they can start making other routes through the maze that look like they lead to the exit but only lead to dead ends.

Step 3: Maybe suggest that your children pick a theme for their maze, with traps and decorated dead ends. Use the markers to illustrate their theme. Is Roger running from the vampire? Is Sara searching for her sucker?

Step 4: After they've finished drawing and decorating the maze, go back over all the pencil lines with the small-tipped marker.

Step 5: Cover the board with clear vinyl adhesive paper so their friends can try escaping from their maze again and again. (Have their friends use their fingers or a wax crayon, which can be wiped off.)

Keep reading for your kids to learn how to play an African counting game.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Mankala Counting Game

Construct a Mankala counting game out of cardboard egg cartons.
Construct a Mankala counting game out of cardboard egg cartons.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Kids all over the world over love counting games, and this Mankala counting game from Africa is fun for all ages.

What You'll Need:

  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Small stones

How to Play the Mankala Counting Game:

Step 1: Have your children remove the lid from an egg carton, and tape an extra cup (cut from another carton) to each end. These end cups are used as banks, where players store their winnings.

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Step 2: Let them use paints and paintbrush to decorate their egg cups if they want, then let the paint dry.

Step 3: Have them put four stones into each cup, but leave the banks empty. The first player starts the game by taking the stones from any cup. Beginning with the next cup and moving counterclockwise, he drops a stone into each cup.

Step 4: Next, he takes the stones from the cup into which his last stone fell. He continues emptying and depositing stones until his last stone falls into an empty ­cup. (The first turn is the only time a turn ends this way.)

Step 5: The second player moves in the same direction, empties the cup of his choice, and redistributes the stones. If his last stone falls into a cup with three stones, he wins all the stones in that cup and places them in his bank. But if any stone other than the last one falls into a cup with three stones, the first player wins the stones from that cup.

Step 6: Players alternate turns until four or fewer stones are left in the carton. The player with the most stones wins.

Keep reading to learn how your kids can create fanciful patterns out of pencils.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Pencil Patterns

Create fancy pencil patterns with unsharpened pencils.
Create fancy pencil patterns with unsharpened pencils.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Help your children find the right designs with perfect pencil patterns.

What You'll Need:

  • 24 unsharpened pencils
  • Flat work space

How to Make Pencil Patterns:

Step 1: Using 24 unsharpened pencils, your children can experiment with designs and distinctive patterns. How many different arrangements can they make with all the erasers touching? How many unique shapes can they build with only 12 pencils? How long are the pencils when laid end to end to end? Can they stack pencils to make three-dimensional designs?

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Step 2: If they don't have 24 pencils handy, try this activity with toothpicks.

Keep reading to learn how to make 12 puzzles out of five squares.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Puzzles for Five Squares

Make puzzles for five squares, and see if your kids can figure out all 12 shapes you can make.
Make puzzles for five squares, and see if your kids can figure out all 12 shapes you can make.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

How many shapes can your children make with five squares? Make puzzles for five squares, and try to see if they can create all 12 shapes.

What You'll Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape

How to Make Puzzles for Five Squares:

Step 1: To try these puzzles, have your children measure and cut out five 2x2-inch squares. Arrange the squares into a larger shape so all the squares are touching. The squares must be arranged so that squares with sides touching are lined up corner to corner.

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Step 2: There are 12 different ways the five squares can be arranged. Have your children find all 12 ways, and record them with pencil and paper by tracing the 12 different shapes onto construction paper. (Trace around the whole shape and also outline each square within the bigger shape.)

Step 3: Ask your children to cut out the 12 different shapes. Eight of the shapes can be folded into boxes that can hold paper clips, buttons, or other small objects.

Step 4: They should experiment to figure out which can be turned into boxes. Designate and mark the square that might be the bottom of the box. Then have them cut along the squares in order to fold and create square boxes.

For another thinking game, keep reading to learn how your kids can make a square using the smallest number of toothpicks.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Toothpick Squares

Create a chart to figure out how many toothpicks your kids need for certain toothpick squares.
Create a chart to figure out how many toothpicks your kids need for certain toothpick squares.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Have your children find the smallest number of toothpicks to make a square in a challenging toothpick square game.

What You'll Need:

  • Toothpicks
  • Paper
  • Pencil

How to Play Toothpick Squares:

Step 1: Find the smallest number of toothpicks your children can use to make a square. That's easy: four. But what's the smallest number of toothpicks they can use to make two squares with a connecting side? Or three squares with connecting sides? What about four squares?

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Step 2: Have them make a chart with two columns. In the first column they should list the number of squares they are going to make with toothpicks -- with connected sides. In the second column they should list the smallest number of toothpicks they can use to make those squares.

Step 3: Now have them make the toothpick squares, and record their findings on the chart. After constructing several toothpick squares, see if they can find a pattern in the numbers they recorded.

For another toothpick math game, keep reading to learn how your kids can make shapes out of toothpicks.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Geometrical Toothpicks

Your kids can design a square and other shapes with geometrical toothpicks.
Your kids can design a square and other shapes with geometrical toothpicks.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Build geometrical toothpicks and see how many shapes your children can make using toothpicks and modeling clay.

What You'll Need:

  • Plastic table covering
  • Toothpicks
  • Modeling clay

How to Make Geometrical Toothpicks:

Step 1: Cover your children's work surface with a plastic table covering. Have your kids use the modeling clay to attach the ends of the toothpicks together. Can they create a triangle? A square? A rectangle? What about a dodecahedron? Or a geodesic?

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Step 2: Try having them alter the shapes by varying the number of toothpicks that intersect at the clay corners in each shape. More toothpicks intersecting at the clay corners in a shape will create larger and rounder shapes.

Step 3: Have your children try to make a shape with three toothpicks intersecting at each clay corner, another with four, and another with five. They can use colored toothpicks to create more decorative geometric sculptures.

Keep reading to learn how your children can make shapes out of rubber bands and nails.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Geo Board

Your children can use this geo board over and over again to make pictures and geometric designs.

What You'll Need:

  • White paper
  • Blunt scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 10-inch square of one-inch-thick wood
  • 36 one-inch brass nails
  • Hammer
  • Assorted rubber bands

How to Make a Geo Board:

Step 1: Have your children cut a 10-inch square from a piece of paper. They should mark a matrix of dots about one inch apart on the paper. Then have them place the paper over the wood board.

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Step 2: Your kids should push a pencil through the paper at each dot to mark the position of the nails. Have them hammer the nails about halfway in the board at each dot. Then they should connect rubber bands around the nails to make designs, geometric shapes, or letters on the board.

Step 3: Once your children are done, remove the rubber bands so they won't get stretched out.

Keep reading to learn how your children can arrange colorful card stock into triangles.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Triangle Treat

Celebrate a triangle treat when your kids arrange
Celebrate a triangle treat when your kids arrange
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

­Encourage your children to use colorful card stock to make a three-sided triangle treat for mathematical fun.

What You'll Need:

  • Card stock
  • Scissors

How to Make a Triangle Treat:

Step 1: Have your children cut colorful card stock into dozens of tiny triangles.

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Step 2: They should arrange the triangles into delightful shapes and designs on the floor, a table, or their desk. Can they make squares from triangles? Patterns? Designs? There's only one way to find out. Have them team up with a friend for twice the three-sided fun.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out: