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Elementary Math: Make It a Game!

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 10/10/2013

If we all had fun as we learned, we would be most anxious to do so. Make sure your students enjoy their lessons by using these games for teaching elementary math!

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    Basic Math

    Math Can Be Fun! Not too many children get excited by sitting down and doing math worksheets. It's important to give them options to work on math so they don't feel as if they are being tortured. Thankfully, there are tons of games for teaching elementary math. Some of them may be games that you have overlooked and some of them may be games that you've never heard of. Whatever the case may be, I hope to have provided you with some ways to help your students enjoy their math experience.

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    Game Guide

    To provide the most information in a short amount of space, I decided to put together a brief list of games for teaching elementary math. Some of these games were games I designed while others are games that can be found laying around most any home or school that has young children in it.

    Addition and Subtraction

    Please note that almost any game can be used to practice addition and subtraction if the players are meant to add their scores and write them down. It's often these simple tasks that we overlook in our quest for educational materials.

    • Adding by Tens - This addition math game is actually easily modified to fit any equation or set of numbers. The idea is that the game is played in a similar fashion as rummy, but the idea is to create equations instead of sets.
    • Rummy - Children can play a simple game of rummy and practice their addition skills as they add the score. Note that they are practicing their grouping skills during this game as well.

    Time Telling

    • Time-Telling Game - This is an easy to create game that I designed. It's a great way to help students learn how to tell time!
    • Boggle - This game not only helps students learn to keep track of time, but it also helps promote word-building skills.

    Fractions

    There are so many fun things to do with fractions that it's hard to narrow it down to just games! However, there are some that can be played and fractions can be the focus of them or an indirect participant. It's really all in how you look at it.

    • Fractions Game - This is another game that I created myself and it has worked out wonderfully. I suggest you take a look and give it a try. Basically it's a card game that the whole class can create and enjoy!
    • Twister - Sure, you would never think of it, but Twister can be an excellent game for practicing fractions. In a large class, you use tokens to try to hit the designated dot instead of people putting their hands on it. You can even make your own Twister board instead of a mat. Label the spinner so that instead of saying "right hand yellow," it say something like "1/2 yellow," which means that the person has to toss a token onto the middle yellow dot. Make sure the students know where the starting point for counting numerators is, otherwise 2/6 and 5/6 (and other similar fractions) are going to be interchangeable.

    All you really need to do to find a good math game is take out any normal game you have and modify it so that it fits the math needs of your classroom. Don't forget to have fun with your students and they will absorb knowledge as fast as you can give it to them!