Engaging, Skill-Building Math Games for Kids

10 Engaging, Skill-Building Math Games for Kids [1st to 8th Grade]

Playing math games has emerged as a way to make class engaging, but — as a teacher — you must ensure these activities build skills and reinforce lesson content.

Just like there are many helpful math websites, there are online and offline games suited for this job by acting as customizable entry and exit tickets as well as mid-class activities.

For 1st to 8th grade teachers, here are 10 math games for kids you can play in class with and without computers:

1. Prodigy

Female students play Prodigy -- an educational math video game -- on their tablet computers.
Students playing Prodigy on their tablets

Sign up for Prodigya free, curriculum-aligned math video game — to engage your class as you reinforce lesson content and essential skills.

It borrows elements from role-playing games (RPGs) such as Pokemon, as players compete in math duels against in-game characters. To win, they must answer sets of questions.

As a teacher, you can customize these questions to supplement class material. The game also uses adaptive learning and differentiated instruction principles to adjust content, addressing each student’s trouble spots. For example, if a player struggles with two-digit addition, the game will build his or her prerequisite skills by delivering targeted feedback and questions focused on mastering one-digit addition.

Create or sign into your free teacher account here:

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Age Range: 1st – 8th Grades

2. Around the Block

Play Around the Block as a minds-on activity, using only a ball to practice almost any math skill.

First, put together a list of questions related to a skill. Second, have students stand in a circle. Finally, give one student the ball and read aloud a question from your list. Students must pass the ball clockwise around the circle, and the one who started with it must answer the question before receiving it again.

If the student incorrectly answers, you can pass the ball to a classmate for the next question. If the student correctly answers, he or she chooses the next contestant.

Age Range: 3rd – 8th Grades

3. Math Baseball

A teacher points to a student who has his hand raised, ready to answer a question.

Divide your class into two teams to play math baseball — another activity that gives you full control over the questions that students answer.

One team will start at bat, scoring runs by choosing questions worth one, two or three bases. You’ll “pitch” the questions, which range in difficulty depending on how many bases they’re worth. If the at-bat team answers incorrectly, the defending team can respond correctly to earn an out. After three outs, switch sides. Play until one team hits 10 runs.

Age Range: 3rd – 8th Grades

4. Math Is Fun

Engage elementary school students by pointing them towards games and puzzles on the Math Is Fun website.

Ideal as a learning station or for classes with one-to-one device use, the games range from challenging math classics — such as Sudoku — to counting exercises for younger students. The latter category uses concise sentences and cartoon characters, making content easier for these students to process.

Age Range: 1st – 5th Grades

5. 101 and Out

A set of dice rest on a table, so students can play math game called 101 and out

Play a few rounds of 101 and Out as a fun way to end math class.

As the name implies, the goal is to score as close to 101 points as possible without going over. You need to divide your class in half, giving each group a die along with paper and a pencil. Groups take turns rolling the die, strategizing to count the number at face value or multiply it by 10. For example, students who roll a six can keep that number or turn it into 60. This game quickly grows competitive, boosting the excitement level in your math class.

Age Range: 2nd – 6th Grades

6. Math Tic-Tac-Toe

Two students use notebooks to play tic-tac-toe against one another.

Pair students to compete against one another while practicing different math skills in this take on tic-tac-toe.

Prepare by dividing a sheet into squares — three vertical by three horizontal. Don’t leave them blank. Instead, fill the boxes with questions that test different abilities. The first one to link three Xs or Os — by correctly answering questions — wins.

You can use this game as a learning station, refreshing prerequisite skills in preparation for new content.

Age Range: 1st – 8th Grades

7. Get the Math

Visit Get the Math with your students to solve engaging challenges, each related to using math in different careers and real-world situations.

The website contains videos with young professionals who explain how they use math in their fields, such as fashion design and video game development. You can assign challenges to your class after watching, which involve playing games. For example, one is based on using materials with different price-points and measurements to design a shirt for less than $35.

Age Range: 6th Grade and Up

8. Stand Up, Sit Down

A student completes math equations using a pen and graph paper.

Play Stand Up, Sit Down as a minds-on activity, adjusting the difficulty according to student age and skill level.

The principle of the game is straightforward: You pick a number, and students must stand if the answer to an equation you read aloud matches that number. If it isn’t, they remain seated in a circle. You can modify requirements for standing as needed. For example, you can tell students to stand if the answer is:

  • Greater than 10
  • An even number
  • A multiple of three

You can also alternate from addition to subtraction, and from multiplication to division.

Age Range: 1st – 5th Grades

9. 100s

Gather your class in a circle to play 100s as a quick warm up before your lesson.

You’ll give students a set of numbers to choose from — such as multiples of five to a maximum of 20 — as they take turns adding out loud in a clockwise direction. The student who says or passes 100 is out. You’ll start again, until only one participant is left.

Although the game is simple, you can change how it’s played to suit the skills of your students. For example, they may have to multiply by fours instead of adding by fives.

Age Range: 2nd – 8th Grades

10. War

A students holds a deck of red playing cards, face down.

Give students a mathematical twist on a traditional card game by playing this version of War.

To start, pair students together and give them each a deck of cards. Then, assign the following values:

  • Ace — 1
  • Two to 10 — Face value
  • Jack — 11
  • Queen — 12
  • King — 13

The rules of the game will depend on the grade you teach and the skills you’re building. For example, students in lower grades will play two cards, subtracting the lower number from the higher. Students in higher grades can multiply the numbers, designating a certain suit as having negative integers. Whoever has the highest hand wins all four cards.

Age Range: 2nd – 8th Grades

Final Thoughts About these 10 Classroom Math Games for Kids

These math games for kids will not only engage students, but help you develop their skills and fact fluency while supplementing lessons.

Although the recommended age ranges fall between grades 1 and 8, you can certainly modify the content for different skill levels and use them for struggling students in higher grades.

And, if you’re unsure about the benefits, try a few games to see the results yourself.

 


>>Create or log into your teacher account on Prodigy — a free, adaptive math game that adjusts content to accommodate player trouble spots and learning speeds. Aligned to US and Canadian curricula, it’s loved by more than 350,000 teachers and 10 million students.

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Marcus Guido

Marcus is Prodigy's content marketing specialist. He has academic backgrounds in journalism and professional communication, and avoids semi-colons at all costs.

One thought on “10 Engaging, Skill-Building Math Games for Kids [1st to 8th Grade]

  1. Thanks for sharing these games. I can see myself using several with my class. I have played the Baseball Math game, but it was years ago. Thanks for the reminder.

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