Need a way to get students more excited about building math skills? A deck of playing cards might just be the answer. These math card games work for little ones and older kids alike, and they’re all free to learn and play. Draw a few to add to your winning math class hand today!

## 1. Match to make eleven

Lay out three rows of three cards each, face up. Then check to see if you can find any two cards that add up to eleven. If so, remove those cards and set aside. Replace them with new cards from the deck. Continue until you run out of cards or can’t make any more matches.

## 2. Race to 100

Flip a card and add its value to your running total. First person to reach 100 without going over wins! (Remove face cards for younger players; use these values for older kids: Jack-11, Queen-12, King-13, Ace-0.)

## 3. Play a game of 21

In Vegas, they call this one “Blackjack,” but it makes a great learning game for kids too (no need to place bets). Not only do they practice their addition skills, but they’ll also get a little practice at thinking logically and calculating the odds.

## 4. Try pyramid solitaire alone or in teams

Some versions of solitaire are really just sneaky math card games, and pyramid is one of them. Try to find cards that add up to 10 as you clear your pyramid row by row. Learn how to play at the link below.

## 5. Flip and add one or subtract one!

There are a few versions of this basic addition and subtraction game. We like this one: Remove the face cards from the deck. Flip a card. If it’s red, add one and say the amount out loud. If it’s black, subtract one. Get it right? You get to keep the card!

## 6. Go fish for pairs that make 10

Your students probably already know how to play Go Fish, but in this version, they’re fishing for pairs that add up to 10. Have them ask: “I have a 2. Do you have an 8 to make 10?” Change aces to 1 for this game and leave face cards out entirely.

## 7. Calculate the gain or loss

Each player starts with 15 points. Player one flips a card (remove face cards or assign them point values first). If the card is black, they add it to their total. If it’s red, they subtract it. Highest point total when all the cards are gone wins! Get a free printable worksheet to use with this game at the link.

## 8. Practice counting on with cards

Remove the face cards for this one, and grab a die. Players flip a card and roll the die. Starting with the number on the card, they “count on” using the number on the die. For instance, if the player flips a 7 and rolls a 4, they would say, “Seven… eight, nine, ten, eleven.” If they get it correct, they keep the card.

## 9. Turnover and multiply (or add)

This one is so simple! Have students pair up. One person flips two cards from the deck. The first student to multiply (or add, depending on what you want to practice) them correctly and call out the answer wins and takes both cards. Play continues until all the cards are gone, and the winner is the one with the most cards.

## 10. Try for a total of 10

Play this math card game alone or as a team. Lay out 20 cards on the table (leave out face cards or change them to equal 0, while aces equal 1). Kids remove sets of cards that add up to 10, ultimately trying to remove all the cards from the table. It’s harder than you think!

## 11. Practice number sequencing with “builder’s paradise”

Simple math card games can help kids learn how to put numbers in order. To play builder’s paradise, discard the face cards and lay out the 4 sevens in a deck side by side. In each round, players work to add the next higher or lower number in each suit, trying to be the first to get rid of all their cards. Get the full how-to at the link below.

## 12. Add decimals to “make a buck”

Draw, swap, and discard to make a hand that equals \$1. Learn what face cards equal and get all the rules at the link.

## 13. Declare a fraction war

War is one of the original math card games, but this version adds a fraction aspect. Students deal two cards, a numerator and denominator, then determine whose fraction is the largest. The winner keeps all four cards, and play continues until the cards are gone. (Click here for more fun and free fraction games.)

## 14. Learn numbers with card bingo

Remove the face cards and have each student lay out a 4 x 4 playing “board” of cards. The remaining cards (or another deck) are placed face down, and a caller flips over a card. Any player who has that number on their board turns the card face down. Play continues until one player has a row flipped over horizontally, vertically, or diagonally and calls “Bingo!”

## 15. Play a game of “I Spy”

Lay out cards on the table, then take turns giving clues. “I spy two cards that add up to 12.” Differentiate for younger kids with options like, “I spy a card that’s less than 4,” or for older ones: “I spy two cards that are factors of 12.”

## 16. Use order of operations to get to 24

Math card games aren’t just for little kids; even adults will find this one a bit tricky. Each player is dealt four cards, then uses the order-of-operations rules to try to make a number as close to 24 as possible. Simple but challenging!

## 17. Take a gamble with triple-digit dare

Each player gets three cards and privately determines the highest three-digit number they can make (you can use decimals or not, depending on age). Then, each player has a turn to stick with the cards they have, swap with one from the deck, or steal one of the other player’s. All players then lay down their best number to see who wins. See more at the link below.

## 18. Deal and round to tens to win

Each player deals two cards and lays them on the board. Then, round to the nearest ten to find the winner of that hand.

## 19. Find a way to make 10

One of the terrific things about math card games is that many of them can be customized for various concepts and skill levels. The original goal of this game was to look at the cards you’re dealt to find ones that add up to 10, but it can be changed to 15, 20, or any number you choose. You can also add to the difficulty by allowing addition and subtraction (for example, you could use 8+4=12 and 12-2=10). Get the rules and free printable mats at the link below.

## 20. Use Close Call to practice two-digit addition or subtraction

The best math card games are simple at heart. To play Close Call, each player deals themselves four cards, then determines how to arrange them so they make two two-digit numbers that add up as close as possible to 100 without going over. For a subtraction version, work to get as close to zero as possible. Learn how to play at the link.

## 21. Let card color indicate negative or positive

In this game, red cards are negative integers, while black cards are positive. Students attempt to play pairs of cards that total 6 or -6. You can change the goal number as needed.

## 22. Take a trip around the card spiral to practice math facts

You’ll need a pair of dice for this math card game. Lay cards out randomly in a spiral formation as shown, and set a marker for each player on the center card. Player one rolls the dice then moves their piece that number of spaces shown. They then must multiply (or add or subtract, depending on preferences) the card number by the number on the dice. If they get the answer correct, they stay where they are. If not, they return to their original card. Play continues until one player reaches the end.

## 23. Flip to make a prime number

Flip two cards. If you can add, subtract, or multiply them to make a prime number (use one or all of these operations), you get to keep them.

## 24. Be the fastest in the race to pi

In this game, kids work to lay out the digits of pi in order. It’s a simple draw-and-play game, but will help familiarize students with this important number. You can write out the digits first or see who knows them from memory. Find out how to play at the link below.

## 25. Pick three to make number sentences

Flip any three cards. If you can use them to form a valid number sentence (8-3=5), you keep the cards!

## 26. Do some basic fast facts practice

Give your flashcards a rest and practice facts with math card games instead. Simply lay down two cards from the deck (remove the face cards first) and add, subtract, or multiply them. Kids can work on this alone, or you can make it a contest to see who can call out the correct answer first.

## 27. Challenge them to beat the teacher

Practice place value by drawing cards and trying to build the largest number possible. Kids play against the teacher to see who wins! Get the rules at the link below. (Find more fun place value activities here.)