Fun Math Games and Activities for Elementary Students

Let your child take a break from boring pencil and paper math study sessions. Instead, try including a few enjoyable games or activities to make math practice more fun!

An Overview of Elementary Addition and Subtraction

Addition and subtraction are two of the fundamental math operations your child will perform throughout school. In kindergarten, your child will begin modeling addition and subtraction problems within ten using his or her fingers, objects or drawings. At the first grade level, your child will be adding and subtracting within 20. Students at this grade level will also begin learning to add three numbers together.

By the time your child reaches second grade, he or she will be solving 1-step and 2-step word problems that require addition and subtraction within 100. In third grade, your child will be solving addition and subtraction problems within 1,000. At the fourth and fifth grade levels, children become more fluent in adding and subtracting. Additionally, fifth graders learn to solve problems with decimal amounts.

Lower Elementary (K-2)

How Many Feet?

Have your child draw a family picture, including all pets. Ask your child addition questions based on his or her picture. For instance, how many feet are there altogether? Feel free to ask questions that will require your child to add three numbers together.

Depending on your child's ability level, you could also include subtraction questions. For example, subtract the amount of feet Dad has from the amount of feet the dog has (4 - 2 = 2). Feel free to also have your child create questions or scenarios based on his or her picture.

Can You Break It Down?

For this activity, weigh your child on a digital scale so that he or she can see the number in standard form. Record the number and have your child model how to break the number down into groups of tens and ones. Have your child also write his or her weight in expanded form. For instance, the number 84 in expanded form is 80 + 4. You can extend this activity by performing the same tasks with another family member's weight, and have your child break the number down into groups of hundreds, tens and ones.

Upper Elementary (3-5)

Fact Family Match Up

Before beginning this activity, write out fact families on index cards. For example, on one card write 5 + 5 = 10 and on another card write 10 - 5 = 5. These two cards would be fact family matches.

Turn all cards face down on the table. Players will take turns flipping over two cards in search of a fact family match. If a match is made, the player takes possession of the cards. If a match isn't made, the cards are returned to play. At the end of the game, the player with the most cards wins.

For this activity, you will need a few dry beans and a deck of cards without the face cards. Shuffle the cards and make one stack in the middle of the table. Each player will draw six cards from the top of the deck and arrange the cards to create two 3-digit addends. Each player will add together the numbers he or she created. The player with the largest sum takes a bean. At the end of the game, the player with the most beans wins. Feel free to adjust this game to also include subtraction.

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