I am always on the lookout for quick and easy ways to practice math facts. Certainly we want to encourage and develop a deep, conceptual understanding of math concepts. And of course, we need to find ways to develop number sense, especially in the early years. But we also need to help kids become fluent in computation because this will give them confidence and set them up for less frustration in the upper grades. So today, I’m sharing another math card game that covers multiplication for kids, but can be adapted to practice any math skill.
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Easy Game to Practice Multiplication for Kids:
Today’s game is called Spiral, and it’s perfect for third-fifth grade. (Though it can be adapted for younger kids if used for addition and subtraction).
Multiplication (or other operations if you’d prefer)
Materials Needed for Spiral: Math Card Game for Kids
- Deck of playing cards
- Game pieces for each player (unifix cubes, board game pieces, beads, etc.)
- 1 or 2 dice (or a 12-sided die)
How to Play Spiral:
Get a quick overview with this video (but be sure to see variations below!):
The object of this game is to be the first to travel from start to finish.
Start with a complete deck of cards, as well as 1-2 dice and game pieces for each player. Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12 and King = 13.
For younger kids, you may want to have an index card with these values written down for their reference so they don’t have to remember or try to figure it out.
To begin, build a spiral out of the entire deck of cards, as shown in the picture below. This will serve as your game board. You can use the same board for multiple games, or create a new board each time to change it up.
Each player then places their game piece at start (the center of the spiral).
To start, the first player rolls a die and moves that number of cards on the game board. They must then multiply the number on their die with the value of the card they landed on. If they solve it correctly, they stay there, otherwise they go back to their previous position.
Players then take turns rolling and moving around the game board.
If a player lands on a card with another player on it, they “bump” that player back to start.
If a player lands on a “double,” meaning the number on their die and the value of their card is the same, they get to go again.
The first player to land exactly on the last card and correctly solve the multiplication problem wins!
Variations to the Game:
Because this creates such a unique game board that is different every time, there are countless possibilities. You can change the rules to practice all sorts of math concepts, depending on the age and ability of your kids.
For younger kids, you could change the operation to addition or subtraction (or even just practice number recognition by removing all face cards).
Or, if you’d like to focus on multiplying by 10, change the value of all face cards to equal ten.
To practice integer operations, make the black cards positive values and the red cards negative values, then add, subtract or multiply.
However you play, I hope your kids enjoy the challenge, and spend more time practicing their math facts! 🙂
Looking for more fun and engaging math card games? See this post with games sorted by topic:
And if you need for fun ideas for multiplication for kids, check out these resources:
- Printable Multiplication Games
- How to Explore Multiplication with Arrays
- Best Books to Teach Multiplication
- Multiplication with the book, 2×2 = Boo!
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