3 quick, hands-on, totally cool math games

3 hands-on math games

Every summer, our school hands out summer packets–worksheets upon worksheets with ways that parents can continue the learning all summer long.

And among the worksheets are ideas that incorporate learning in everyday activities for both reading and math.  I have to admit, I (gulp!) actually like these packets, but I also have to admit (gulp!) that I don’t force the kids to do every single page.

If there’s a concept that Maddy or Owen don’t understand, we skip it.

If there’s an activity that’s too involved or complicated, we skim through it.

If there’s something on the calendar that just won’t fly with my kids, we do something different.

I feel okay doing this because the point–I believe–is to keep kids engaged, to get their brains moving, and to remind them of the concepts they learned the previous year. So we do what we can.

But this summer, Maddy’s packet had a ton of really awesome, hands-on, totally cool math games from a site that I am grateful to have discovered.  These games are quick, and they are smart.

We’ve played them more than I expected, and even Owen got into the fun once or twice.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 3 Quick, Hands-On, Totally Cool Math Games: Though there are more than three in the packet–and dozens and dozens on the site, these are among our faves.

Along with Magic Triangles, which I shared a few days ago, the games we liked the most were quick and hands-on. And who doesn’t like quick in the summertime, right?

magic triangle math

Magic Triangles was a fave

1. 11 MoreThe premise of 11 More is simple: adding 11 to the number rolled on a die. Players each choose a color counter and take turns rolling a die.  They calculate the total of the number rolled plus 11.

And then the player places a counter on the corresponding number on the ‘board’.  The first player to have four counters in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) is the winner!

11 more math game

We used gems as our counters. . .

11 more math game

. . . and though I tried hard. . .

11 more math game

. . . Maddy beat me several times.


2.  Count by 5’s –again, a very simple game.  But there’s something that kids love about flipping cards, taking turns, and trying to win.  In this game, players simply take turns flipping a card from the top of the deck and figuring out where on the board it ‘fits’.

We played that the first person to complete a row was the winner, but we played it pretty loosely.

count by fives game

We flipped. . .

count by fives game

. . . counted by 5’s. . .

count by fives game

. . . and completed rows!


3.  Magic Star Puzzle— The Magic Star Puzzle was the toughest of the games Maddy played.

The object is to position the counters marked 1-12 in the star so that each row and diagonal has a sum of 26. Sounds easy–but it required a lot of thought!

magic star puzzle

Magic Star Puzzle was a challenge!

And that’s it–just 3 quick, hands-on, totally cool math games that kept the kids’ brains and hands moving during the summer months.  What I love about these games is that they can be used any time of the year–for math centers, for math supplemental help, for tutoring, you name it!

Let the math fun begin!

fyi: Huge, huge, huge thanks to our school and fabulous teachers for putting together these awesome packets.  And thank you thank you thank you for introducing me to an incredible site, K-5 Math Teaching Resources–a simple site packed with really great resources for children. I am truly in awe!  If you want to find the games mentioned above, head to the 2nd Grade Number Activities.




  1. says

    What a fun idea for math games. Loved your photos to go with this blog. Don’t pictures really say a thousand words? Come visit me at toddlersthroughpreschool.com anytime.

  2. Carly says

    Thank you so much! These games will be great for my kids during this week of testing! They are very educational and will also keep them busy and active. So simple yet creative and awesome!


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