We love using games to reinforce learning skills! We went through our cabinets and lockers and pulled out some of our favorites for games that help kindergartners, first graders, and second graders with numeracy, addition, subtraction, and even money.
So without further ado, here are a few of our favorite math games for young students in no particular order.
Oh, two more important things:
First, we aren’t receiving any sponsorship or support. We don’t get anything if you go and buy these games. We just like them because they’re fun and useful. We thought you might enjoy them, too. We used Amazon for the links so you could see pictures of the products, but don’t feel pressured to buy them, and especially don’t feel pressured to buy them at any particular place.
Secondly, we tried to offer a general estimate of price because we know teachers are all about the budget, but keep in mind prices do change. All of the prices we’re including were found in January of 2020, so be sure to check before making any solid buying plans.
Dino Math Tracks
This game is great for your little future paleontologists! Dinosaurs are a real obsession at this age, and this game uses that enthusiasm to build basic numeracy skills. You can use this game to practice number recognition, place value through the thousands, addition, subtraction, problem-solving, and word problem skills.
There are three levels of challenging play, so it can be adjusted to meet the needs of your students.
Across the internet, the pricing typically runs from $17 to $27.
Math Mat Challenge
Ages 4 to 7
This one is a HUGE classroom hit. One of our writers had this in her classroom for years while teaching kinder and first grades. It’s a mat that a student stands on. The numbers 0 - 10 are in a circle surrounding them, and as the “announcer” says the name of a number or gives an equation, the student quickly tries to step on the correct answer.
It’s great for your littles who are more kinesthetic in their learning. Kids who need to work on gross motor skills as well as numeracy, addition and subtraction skills - including those with ADD and ADHD - really appreciate having this as a center.
A couple of warnings, though:
- Kids will fight each other over doing this one as a center! Plan for the chaos.
- It does require AA batteries, so if you are ordering this with school funds or requesting it on your Amazon teacher wish list, be sure you include plenty of replacement batteries.
- This is not a quiet game. There’s a small speaker on the mat. It does have an adjustable volume with two levels, but if you prefer a silent classroom during centers or reading group, this may not be a good fit.
- It’s priced anywhere from $28 to a whopping $65! If you use your search engine and find it for the higher price, just know that it is a crazy price and you are very likely to be able to find several at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. About $35 seems to be the average. It’s a great little activity mat, but it’s not “$65 great”, if you know what we mean!
This is great if you’ve got a room big enough to put this on the opposite side of the room or don’t mind a little more “learning noise”.
This is a crowd favorite for practicing addition and subtraction facts! It’s really best for kids ages 5 to 7, and it focuses on +/- single-digit numbers; however, some teachers say they’ve added a third dice to make it harder for kids who need the challenge. One teacher also suggested using a 10-sided die (the dice with the game are only through six).
Head’s up - there was a reprinting of the board that made something not work well for a while (sorry that’s vague, but that’s all the information we’ve got). Good news, the problem has been fixed! Just be careful to buy this one new and don’t pick on up at a garage sale without checking the board carefully.
You can get Sum Swamp for as low as about $16 and as high as about $35.
This is not one game. It’s actually 6 sets of cards with instructions for 16 “easy-to-learn” card games. The cards are so cute! They are oversized, square cards. Their size and shape makes them novel for pre-k and kinder kids.
The makers of Tiny Polka Dot were kind enough to provide this free PDF of games as a little sample of some of the Tiny Polka Dot fun: http://tinypolkadot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Tiny-Polka-Dot-Booklet-of-Games-for-Teachers.pdf
There are some good video explanations of the games on YouTube, as well.
It’s typically priced between $15 and $25.
Who doesn’t love dice games? This one comes with a cute storage bag that doubles as a game board - we love that!
It includes a 12-sided die and five 6-sided dice. The dice are oversized, which again, adds novelty to the play experience.
Gameplay requires addition and subtraction until the student gets to a targeted number. It also requires some strategy skills.
Math Dice, Jr. is for 4 players, but teachers modify it to meet their needs if they have fewer children playing the game. In fact, most teachers say it’s easily modified to fit any variation of need they have. You can make the game harder, easier, or target other skills. It’s a pretty versatile game.
And it won’t break the bank! Most places carry it for about $8. There are a few places asking $22, but you can easily get it for less.
We’d be lying if we said the adorable whale bag this game comes in isn’t a large part of why we love Mobi.
It’s like Bananagrams, but you create number sentences (equations). It can be used for either solo or small group play. It’s a simple, fun game that reinforces addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills.
This is a great review game for older, advanced children to learn about and practice multiplication and division skills, or you can remove the multiplication and division tiles for younger students.
You can usually find Mobi for around $20.
This is an old pub game from the U.K. that’s found a new life among gaming families and school children. It’s a great game for learning addition.
The one we’ve linked above is only one of a plethora of choices. In a sense, it’s like chess or checkers. There are many choices in boards.
You can choose between one and four-player “box” game boards. The single-player version is usually less expensive. The four-player version can be found from about $25. Some are as much as $40.
The game itself is a focus on addition and strategy, and although it’s recommended for ages 6 and above, adults enjoy this game just as much as children do. Perhaps you could take it to the next staff meeting to add a little fun to the event! (By the way, we’re kidding!)
This. Game. Is. Hilarious. We’ve never heard anyone say they disliked it.
It’s a mental arithmetic game that requires very quick thinking and strategy.
Although it says it’s made for children ages 8 and over, it’s truly better suited for 6 and 7-year-olds. We think it may be marketed for kids around 8 because the girl who created the game was an 8-year-old.
Some older kids may enjoy it, but chances are better that they’ll love it if they learn it earlier and just continue playing as they get older.
A warning: this game is not particularly “forward-thinking” when it comes to the roles of women in society. The Queens themselves can do nothing on their own, are entirely too thin, and typically have to be saved by Kings.
We don’t love that, and we understand that it may be enough of an issue for some to not play the game at all. However, it can be addressed as being an outdated notion of what a queen should be while still playing the game and having a fun time practicing addition facts and strategy.
Sleeping Queens is a $10 card game.
This game is a fun one because you pick one card from your hand, then pass the rest! It’s like having a sushi meal!
Go Sushi requires addition skills, strengthens probability, improves strategic thinking, and helps improve short-term memory skills.
Some children younger than 8 may enjoy this game, and many people who are older also love it. The manufacturer also says that you can play with 2 - 5 people, but 2 is really not enough unless you make a “blind” pile and pretend there’s a third player (which would probably just confuse kids).
Warning, though… if you like sushi, this game is very likely to make you ridiculously hungry! Proceed with caution (and maybe a full stomach)!
You can purchase Sushi Go for between $10 and $13.
Sequence, the original game, has been around for about 50 years. Chances are you’ve run across it before. Sequence Numbers is a newer version of the game which highlights addition, subtraction, strategy, and of course sequencing skills.
Sequence numbers can be played with 2 to 6 players. It can be purchased for less around $25.
This unique game focuses on counting and exchanging money.
There seem to be few games available for money-counting skills that include realistic-looking play money and require counting change.
Kids 7 and over will enjoy this game, and it works well for 2 to 4 players.
There are some really great parts of the game, too, like kids may be asked to collect a particular amount of money without using nickels, or without adding any dimes to their collection. It’s a really great way for kids to practice counting money in a realistic way.
It costs around $14.
5 +, 8+ respectively
We’re including two versions of the same game for our final game.
Clumsy Thief Jr. has children adding to ten to make groups (great for place value concept-building).
Clumsy Thief is the same basic game but requires adding one and two-digit numbers to 100. Although we didn’t include a link, there is one other game in this group - Clumsy Thief in the Candy Shop. This last game is for adding to 20.
All of the games in this series are between $15 and $20.