I have a fun little group of students who come into my room after school to drink hot cocoa, have after-school snacks, and hang out on the comfortable furniture in here.
The kids were bored the other day while they waited for their rides home, so I got out a math card game I’d made. It went over pretty well, didn’t cost much, and took just a few minutes to make, so I thought I’d share it here.
All you need are a deck of regular playing cards and a Sharpie.
Separate the face cards from the rest. On each face card, write an operation: addition, subtraction, or multiplication. (You could include division, too, if you wanted, but I didn’t, because the younger members of the group haven’t gotten to that yet.) To keep things straight, assign specific operations to specific faces: Kings are addition, queens are subtraction, and jacks are multiplication. Jokers, as you might expect, are wild; a child who draws a joker can declare whichever operation s/he chooses.
Shuffle the face cards and put them face-down in one stack. Shuffle the rest of the cards and put them face-down in a separate stack.
The first player draws a number card and lays it face-up on the playing surface. The player to his or her left draws a face card and another number card and lays them face-up next to the first card to make an equation. This player then solves the equation. (If the operation is subtraction, and you are playing with young children, have them subtract the smaller number from the bigger number.)
If the player gets the correct answer, s/he keeps the number cards, returns the operation card to the discard pile, and draws a new number card for the next player. If the player gets the wrong answer, s/he returns the number cards to the bottom of the pile.
Play continues until you run out of number cards. The winner is the player with the most cards at the end of the game.