Math Games for Children in the Primary Grades

Addition and subtraction are basic math skills that your child will use throughout school and life. Consider using the interactive games below to help your child practice his or her addition and subtraction.

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Addition and Subtraction at the Elementary Level

In kindergarten, your child will gain a foundation in math as he or she learns to represent addition and subtraction using objects and drawings. In first grade, your child will be adding and subtracting within 20. By second grade, your child will be performing addition and subtraction within 100 and solving word problems.

In third and fourth grade, your child will be fluently adding and subtracting whole numbers through 1,000. By fifth grade, decimals through the hundredths place will be included in your child's math curriculum. Each of the activities below can be easily adjusted to fit your child's grade and ability level.

Lower Elementary (K-2)

Addition and Subtraction Graph

Have your child begin this activity by polling family and friends about their favorite local place to eat. Your child should record the results of the poll using tally marks. Help your child create a bar graph and have him fill in the results from the poll.

After your child has completed the bar graph, ask him addition and subtraction questions. For example, how many more people chose Taco Bell instead of Burger King? Or, you could ask how many people chose Popeye's, Burger King and Taco Bell altogether?

Calendar Math

For this adding and subtracting activity, your child will need a calendar and a few colored markers. Have your child use the markers to help her count from one date to another based on your questions. You could ask your child questions like: 'How many days do we have school this month?' Or you could ask, 'How many more days until the ballgame on Saturday?' Depending on your child's ability level, feel free to have her use more than one month to practice addition and subtraction.

Upper Elementary (3-5)

Creating Addends

Before beginning this game, remove all of the face cards from a deck of cards. Shuffle the cards and place them in a stack in the middle of the table. Each player will take turns drawing four cards. The first two cards will create the first addend and the following two cards will make the second addend. Each player should add the two created numbers and record the sum. For instance, if you draw the cards 2, 3, 5 and 7, then your addition problem would be 23 + 57.

After five rounds, players should add their recorded sums to get a grand total. The player with the largest number wins the game! To adjust this game, you could have your child create the addends and round each of the numbers before adding them. To incorporate subtraction, you could have your child subtract the created numbers when possible. If you make this adjustment, you may also want to make the player with the lowest grand total the winner of the game.

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