Spiral: Easy Way to Practice Multiplication for Kids

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, Iā€™m sharing another math card game that covers multiplication for kids, but can be adapted to practice any math skill.

Looking for an easy way to practice multiplication for kids? This game only takes two minutes to set up, but can be played again and again to challenge kids and incease multiplication fact fluency. Plus, you can adapt it to work on other skills as well!

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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).

Math Skills Focus:

Multiplication (or other operations if you’d prefer)

Materials Needed for Spiral: Math Card Game for Kids

How to Play Spiral:

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.

Looking for an easy way to practice multiplication for kids? This game only takes two minutes to set up, but can be played again and again to challenge kids and incease multiplication fact fluency. Plus, you can adapt it to work on other skills as well!

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.

Looking for an easy way to practice multiplication for kids? This game only takes two minutes to set up, but can be played again and again to challenge kids and incease multiplication fact fluency. Plus, you can adapt it to work on other skills as well!

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.

Looking for an easy way to practice multiplication for kids? This game only takes two minutes to set up, but can be played again and again to challenge kids and incease multiplication fact fluency. Plus, you can adapt it to work on other skills as well!

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.


Purchase PDF Download | Purchase Print Book on Amazon

However you play, I hope your kids enjoy the challenge, and spend more time practicing their math facts! šŸ™‚


Looking for more engaging math card games? Get “15 Fun & Easy Math Games” (including “Spiral”) sent straight to your inbox:


Practice and Review Multiplication Facts with Fact Fluency: Mastering Multiplication App on iTunes:


And if you need for fun ideas for multiplication for kids, check out these resources:

 

15 Comments

  1. What a cool and simple idea! Loving it! Looking forward to playing with my OSHC kids.

  2. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing.
    I’m mainly going to use it for multiplication, but that integer solution was very nice as well!

  3. Love the idea of using playing cards to practice multiplication this way! Super easy to differentiate by removing some cards or switching the die for a different one!

  4. I played this game today with a small group of students. They LOVED it! We decided to add the jokers back in as “Go back to start” cards! We placed one close to the end card and the kids thought that was very exciting!! Thanks!

  5. Do you have these directions on one sheet by any chance? I’d love to share this with kids to take home and use!

    1. Hi Heidi!

      Yes, if you sign up for the email series, you will receive a printable version of this and 5 other easy card games. šŸ™‚

  6. These games are so cute and creative !!!!! I will play them in my classroom.Can’t wait !!

    Thanks Bethany!!!

  7. thank you! This is a great idea! I have been looking for games to use for groups that are not speed oriented. Thank you for sharing!

  8. I’m looking forward to playing the games with my sixth-grade students that are struggling with their basic math skills.

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