Math With Everyday Games

Learn how puzzles and other games can build math skills.

When kids play everyday games like cards and dice, they’re already discovering the fun in math.

Puzzles encourage kids to observe shapes. Point out the curves, lines, and angles on the pieces. See if a curve can fit next to a straight line or angle. Ask, “What might fit instead?” Encourage your child to rotate and flip pieces to make them work.

Card games can encourage kids to match and group items. Challenge kids to find all the cards of the same suit in a deck of cards. Then ask, “How else could we group them?” Try grouping by number, by color, or other ways.

Board games are often filled with opportunities to become children’s math games. Kids can play the role of the “bank” in games like Monopoly or Life. In other games, let kids keep score—helping them with simple addition as they do.

Game-board dice help kids learn to add. After kids roll a pair of dice, count the dots on one die, and then count the dots on the other. Ask, “How many dots did you roll all together?” Take away one die. How many dots are left?