10 Ways To Make Math Fun
Has math become a battle at your house? Are you searching for ways to make math be more fun, as well as educational?
During my years of teaching in the public schools, as well as my more recent homeschooling years, I've come up with a variety of ways of making math more fun! Below you'll find 10 of my favorite math games and activities!
Different activities address different learning styles, so why not pick and choose a variety? Above all, though, pick ones you and your child enjoy doing!
The more hands-on and fun you can make math, the more math your child will learn!
Playing Store Is An Excellent Way To Practice Math Skills! - Simple adding and subtracting, multiplying, figuring out how much something costs if it's a certain
There is so much to learn from playing store!
Younger children can practice counting money, or making change. An older child can practice figuring out tax, or discounts when an item is on sale (20 % off, for example.) Kids can practice adding and subtracting, with or without decimals, multiplying ("I'll take three of those balls at $1.50 each, please!")..and so much more! Middle Schoolers could even practice adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers while playing store.
Playing Store is one of our favorite math activities!
What Math Can You Learn At A Real Store?
Counting money, adding and subtracting, multiplying, percentages, comparing prices,and more
You can learn some of the same type stuff at a real store, as well as compare prices (taking quantity into account), as you can when playing store at home. Plus you can get your real shopping done at the same time! It does take a while longer to shop this way, but even if your child only "finds the best deal" for two or three of the things you're purchasing, at least he/she is getting to see math being used for real purposes!.
If your child is given some money for his (or her) birthday or other special day, have him add up what he wants at the store before he gets to the cash register to make sure he has enough money. Let him hand the cashier the money himself. Counting out the money is part of the learning experience! Don't forget to have him double check to make sure he got back the right change!
Sing a Math Song! - Learn addition, subtraction, skip counting, multiplication, and more from a song!
Songs have a way of sticking with us. There are quite a few math songs available on the market. They teach everything from the addition and subtraction facts, to skip counting, to multiplication and division, and more!
You can make up your own songs as well! Does your child need to learn the prime numbers? Can you tape record you and your child singing them to a familiar tune? Play it back everyday, and sing along again!
Play a Math Game - Or change a regular game into a math learning opportunity!
There are so many ways to incorporate games into your homeschool math lessons or homework assistance.
1. You can use family games, such as checkers or Sorry or any of a number of other fun family games! If math skills aren't a natural part of the game, just have your child answer a math fact before they take their turn. You can also do this with paper and pencil games, such as Tic Tac Toe. It's a great way to review math facts! (And it's a whole lot more fun than just plain flash cards!)
2. Look for games which teach the specific skills you're working on. There are lots of math games at the teacher stores and on Amazon which are designed to teach skills with money, using a checkbook, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.
3. Change regular games, such as the Toss Across pictured here, into educational math games.
Smath - Create Your Own Math Equations, using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
This game is a lot like scrabble, but with math equations. Smath is our FAVORITE store-bought math board game!
Sum Swamp - An Addition and Subtraction game
Journey around the Sum Swamp by adding and subtracting the dice. This game also teaches about even and odd numbers. I hope you get to take the "Crocodile Short-Cut," but don't get stuck in the "Endless loop!" This game is great for kindergardeners through 2nd or 3rd graders.
Dino Math Tracks - A place value game
In this game, children race around a rainbow with their prehistoric animal playing pieces, learning about place value and four digit numbers in the process! This is a very clever game!
Head Full of Numbers - Shaking the dice out of the head adds to the fun in this game!
Create equations using addition, subtraction, and if desired, multiplication and division.
Pigs - Each player must add up their own points each turn.
To play pigs, roll the "pig dice." Will one or both of your pigs land on their backs with their feet up in the air? Or maybe your pigs will land leaning forward on their snouts! The way the pigs land determines your score for that roll. You can keep rolling as long as you like each turn (adding your points as you go), but if you roll two pigs that are touching - watch out, as you've just lost all your points gained so far in the game! Knowing when to stop rolling and pass the pigs to the next player is an important part of the game because if the pigs land lying down but on opposite sides of their bodies, not only is your turn over, but you score 0 for that turn.
Math Manipulatives - Math-U-See Manipulatives
Manipulatives not only make math more fun, they make it easier to understand. When a child understands WHY he's supposed to do something in mathematics, he becomes a much better mathematician. Comprehension is at least as important as getting a problem right! In fact, I'd rather have a child miss a particular problem, but understand the reasoning behind why it works the way it does, than get every problem right yet have no understanding of what's really happening.
Math-U-See Manipulatives And Curriculum are very popular in the homeschooling community! Not only are the manipulatives usually available on ebay, but often times you can find good deals on the curriculum as well.
In addition to Math-U-See Blocks, we use (or have used in earlier years), unifix cubes, fraction circles, pattern blocks, beads and other items for making patterns, and quite frequently even homemade manipulatives to meet our needs at that moment.
Rainbow Fraction Deluxe Circles - These are excellent for learning about fractions!
I have three of these fraction circle sets, and have used them year after year when we study fractions in our homeschool lessons. We really love these! They make understanding fractions so much easier!
Deluxe Fraction Tower Activity Set - Great for fractions, decimals and percents!
Snap the cubes together to learn abstract decimal, fraction, and percentage concepts.
Cuisenaire Rods - This is a classic math manipulative!
This set of Cuisenaire rods contains 74 wood rods, which is enough for two students working together. They can be used for so many things: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and more.
Although Cuisenaire rods also come in plastic, get the wooden ones. The sound of them clicking together is so much nicer.
Race Your Child! - Who can be the first one to get the problem done...correctly?
Copy on another piece of paper the same problem your child is getting ready to do. Each of you grab a pencil... On your mark, get set, GO! The first one to finish gets a point. BUT the answer must be correct. Both parties must finish the math problem too. It's no fair just sitting there waiting for the other to do all the work! Make two columns on the side of your paper and label one of them with your child's name and the other with your name. Keep up with the scores using tally marks under the winner's name.
(Note: If you find you're winning too many rounds, give your child a little bit of a head start. Allow your child to start, then begin counting (in your head so as not to get the numbers all mixed up in your child's head) slowly to 10, and then start the problem yourself. On the other hand, if your child is winning more than his share, maybe you ought to be the one to ask for a headstart!
When a page of pre-algebra problems has been staring my son in the face, we often turn the work into fun with this game! I now know more pre-algebra than I did when I took the course myself!
1. Take a ball and go for a walk down your street with your child. Call out a math fact, and bounce the ball to your child. He or she catches it, calls out the answer, and bounces it back! If your child can't remember an answer, go ahead and help them figure it out, and then call that same fact out again in a few minutes.
2. Play Horse with your child and a basketball. Before taking a shot, you each have to answer a math fact!
3. Does your child love roller skating? Allow him or her to skate around in a large circle. Each time he or she gets back to where you are waiting, he has to answer one or two more math facts. (Maybe even 5 math facts, if it's a big circle he's skating in, and if he knows his facts fairly well but just needs a little review.)
4. Does your child like to hoola-hoop? How many math facts can she answer before dropping the hoop?
5. The possibilities are unlimited! Look at what your child enjoys doing, be creative, and come up with a way to incorporate math into it! (Of course, don't make him do math every time he does his favorite activity! Just use this idea ever so often!)
If your child just stares at his math paper, or daydreams out the window, why not turn his math into a story - a real life story your child can understand.
Money, for example! Or baseball cards! Or sports! Use whatever interests your child, if you can!
-7 - 3 =
"If you owe Dad $7 for a toy you bought last week, and you owe him another $3 for a toy you bought today, how much do you owe Dad altogether?
( Note: a negative number is like owing someone that amount and a positive number is like receiving that amount.)
-2 + 5 =
"If you owe me $2 for a toy you bought last week, and you've now earned your allowance of $5, after you pay me what you owe me, how much will you have left?"
-6 + 8 =
"If you gave your friend 6 baseball cards, and he gave you 8 in return, how many would you have?"
4 X 2 =
"If your dad, brother, you and me all wanted to go ice skating, how many ice skates would we need?"
If they still have trouble even after the story, pull out the dollar bills or the baseball cards, and let them move the items around according to the story. If your child is first learning this skill, pull out the real life items from the very beginning! The more REAL you can make their math, the better they'll understand it!
Here's Another Way To Turn Math Into A Story! - Learn Multiplication and Division with Times Tales
These are short little stories that help kids learn their upper multiplication and division facts. There are characters, that correspond with specific numerals, which are used over and over in the stories. This helps the child remember which story goes with which set of numerals.
We used these a few years ago and have since loaned our copy to another homeschooling family who've enjoyed them as well!
Times Attack - My son loved this fun PC "video game" for learning the multiplication facts!
It takes a lot of repetition and practice to memorize all the times tables. Even after a child has them memorized, continuing to practice them is so important! This game turns practicing multiplication facts into a video game!
Math Blaster in the Prime Adventure - This one's for the DS!
Child Created Math Game
Have Your Child Make Up Their Own Math Game!
The sky's the limit here! Just have them use things you have around the house, plus maybe some poster board from the store if they'd like it. Help them out while they create their game - if they'd like for you to do so. Otherwise, use the time to create a game for the two of you to play another day!
Free Printable Games
By Adrian Bruce
I've used a variety of Adrian Bruce's FREE printable educational games over the years. You select a game, print it on your computer (cardstock is best, as it helps the game be more durable for repeated use!), cover the pieces in clear contact paper if desired, cut them out, and play! You can store the pieces in a small ziplock bag, or put a rubber band around them.
I particularly love Adrian Bruce's reading games, but his math games are awesome too! There's no cost involved, other than the cost of ink and cardstock for your printer.
To view and/or download some of his games, check out:
While you're on his site, look for his free subscription service. If you'll provide him with your name and email address, he'll notify you when he's added new games to his site! And no, he won't send you any spam!!
Crayola Rocket Minds Games
Rocketminds, by Crayola, makes a variety of hands-on fun educational games for kids.
In the photograph at the very top of the page are two large colorful dice. They are used in a game called Math For Kicks which was created by Rocketminds. In Math For Kicks, players take turns kicking (or tossing) three large inflatable dice into the air. Two of the dice have numbers on them, and the three has addition signs, subtraction signs, and "extra turn" signs, which indicate what the child is to do with the numbers they rolled. The fun comes in...well, with getting to kick large inflatable dice for one thing, but also from some cards which give various silly, goofy, or funny tasks for the child to do, such as singing a song while hopping backwards 5 times..things like that. The game is a LOT of fun, and is a great way to review addition and subtraction facts!
P.S. We played it in a hallway and never had any problems with knocking lamps or other things over. If you had a large playroom or other open area, that'd be another great place to play it. In fact, the directions mention it's fine to play it inside or outside. Grass won't make the dice pop!
We also have one of their spelling games called, Step 'n Spell. In this game, kids spell out words by stepping on the letters in order on a large plastic floor mat. You can play it as a game, or as just an activity. Get creative with the rules, and take your own turns jumping on the mat as well! Challenge your child to notice when you misspell a word by jumping on a wrong letter!
We also have and have enjoyed playing the Rocketmind game, Spin, Spend, and Earn! This game teaches kids about money. It's a lot of fun too! If I remember correctly, the players of the game pretend to do chores (which are told to them on game cards) to earn money. When they have enough money, they can buy various items that are for sale. The game can be easily adjusted to be harder or easier, depending upon the level of your child. For example, you can have things priced in just dollars, or include coins too, so that your children have to add in decimals.
Ebay sometimes has various Rocketmind games for sale. If there are any currently available, hopefully you'll find them listed here.
This site also usually has some Rocketmind games for sale --> The Find
Tell us about yourself - What brings you to this learning games site today?
Additional Math Resources - Online Math Activities and Games
- Online Math Games for PreK to Algebra! (Crickweb)
This is a collection of online math games for everyone from preK up to students studying algebra! Games help students learn about shapes, fractions, decimals, odd and even numbers, Venn diagrams, and others.
- Online Numeracy Games (ICT)
These online games include place value, counting, addition, subtraction, odd and even, multiplication and rounding, and more.
- Free Online Logic Puzzles!
This website includes 20 logic puzzles with a wide variety of difficulty levels.
- 10ticks Maths Games and Activities
Practice your addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and algebra while playing games!
What age is the child or children for whom you're looking for math games or activities?
© 2009 JanieceTobey
Thanks for visiting my fun math activities site! Comments? Questions? What's your favorite way to make math fun? I'd love to hear from you!
NasrullahIdris on January 10, 2014:
A baby cried, when her mother left in the room. It felt something less. Means of mathematical processes in the brain has happening
LearnKidstoRead on November 17, 2013:
I really love your lens, lots of info for my son, he has lots of fun trying out math games, Sue
WebMarketingPro on December 20, 2012:
Loved this lens! I wish I had known those things when I struggled with math in high school (oh, and I wish my MATH teacher had known them!) I figured it out eventually, but back then it was needlessly stressful.
normal lm on November 18, 2012:
Today kids love to learn things with creativity, and learning mathematics through games or songs gives load of fun.
Hey Janiece love to read your lens.
UKMarkWilliam on November 03, 2012:
So nice one
krislu lm on October 10, 2012:
Way to go! Love the title of your len! Very appropriate and I quite agree Math games are a fun way to learn math skills! Kristie
PennyHowe on September 05, 2012:
Great ideas. I loved math in school. It was my favorite subject. Then I went on to teach school and it was one of my favorite subjects to teach. My objective was to try to make a fun learning environment. You have some great ideas.
dellgirl on August 31, 2012:
Iâm going right now to pin this on Pinterest, facebooking and, tweeting it so I can find it again and to share it with others. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**
piedromolinero on August 06, 2012:
Math can be so much fun. I love playing math games with my daughter, for her 6 years she is doing really fine.
Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on July 01, 2012:
We love games. Some great ones here. Blessed.
anonymous on May 23, 2012:
What an excellent lens. My personal favorite is the letting your child create a math game. What an outstanding idea that with unlimited possibilities.
kpp2385 on May 17, 2012:
extremely useful and would make learning fun for students. great lense. I have also recently started writing on mathematics related topic, vedic maths to be specifc
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on May 15, 2012:
These all look like great ways to teach/learn math! I love the store scenario.
brian-mclogan on April 28, 2012:
Great information! Education starts with Energy!
PennyHowe on March 14, 2012:
Being a retired teacher, I also know where you are coming fun. A great way to get kids involved in Math is to use games and fun activities. They end up learning without even knowing it. Great lens, thanks.
ginayonque on March 13, 2012:
hooray to the ideas presented to make learning math fun
ronaldpakasi on March 11, 2012:
Thank you for sharing the ideas! Such a great lens! I wish I had you for a math teacher when I was a kid...hahaha!
Fay Favored from USA on March 11, 2012:
Really good ideas, where were you when I learned math?
dahlia369 on March 10, 2012:
Learning while playing is the best way to teach, especially subjects like math, which is not exactly everyone's favorite. Great lens and ideas!! :)
heehaw lm on March 09, 2012:
thanks for such a superb lens which has great ideas of teaching kids to learn maths.
grumpylittletree on March 09, 2012:
So many great ideas! I am going to be using a lot of these.
duslan on March 09, 2012:
Katie Harp on March 08, 2012:
blessed by a squid angel :) <3
Tugee on March 08, 2012:
Math is one of my favorite things in the world. Great lens on it.
ITCoach LM on March 08, 2012:
great lens, really informative!
Keeah on March 07, 2012:
Great LENS! I have a math Lens as well and I just added this to the lens roll.
MarkHansen on March 06, 2012:
Math is fun I explained the good way, just think of the birthday paradoxon for example.
anonymous on March 06, 2012:
It seems I keep returning to your lenses to congratulate you on front page honors and here I am again....wishing I could bless again!
PecjakJN on March 05, 2012:
tainlaulence on March 05, 2012:
Julia Morais on March 04, 2012:
Really great ideas here. Some of them might just work for my nephew. Great lens.
allenwebstarme on March 04, 2012:
Fantastic, educational lens for children.
ara-bella on March 04, 2012:
it's always better to learn through games - kids don't get bored and everybody wins. thanks for these great ideas!
MelonyVaughan on March 04, 2012:
Great lens! Really enjoyed it!
anonymous on March 01, 2012:
This is a nice fun-filled resource and activity planner for kids!
Pangionedevelopers on February 18, 2012:
great info source
anonymous on February 13, 2012:
This is great,making math fun
anonymous on January 28, 2012:
I sure wish I would have had this lens available when I was homeschooling, the next best thing is to return with a blessing!
anonymous on December 26, 2011:
well done lens indeed, spent a lot more time here then I thought I would but that is because he put so much time and thought to it, job well done!
baby-strollers on December 21, 2011:
teaching addition/subtraction using candies.
jeffporter lm on November 23, 2011:
Nice lens, making math fun is the key to building math skills in children!
redleafloans on November 17, 2011:
Math is really fun! I love it...:)
CherylsArt on November 11, 2011:
Cute ideas for making math fun!
BestToysReviews on November 07, 2011:
Those kindergarten kids are so cute :D
desa999 lm on November 03, 2011:
This is great, I was hopeless at maths and with our first granddaughter we can now help math make fun.
MintySea on October 28, 2011:
Such great ideas
mountainstevo on October 01, 2011:
Good information for us homeschooling folks!
HOPEHomeSchoolConsulting on September 23, 2011:
Great hands-on activities.
stephanieelizabeth on September 10, 2011:
I never found maths boring as a kid. Definitely as a teenager and adult though! Maybe you should make a guide for the oldies :)
AlisonMeacham on September 09, 2011:
What an excellent lens. Squidoo is such a great resource for homeschool! Blessings to you
Deeksha on September 01, 2011:
franstan lm on July 30, 2011:
Excellent ideas for spicing up what students think of as a boring subject
Blackspaniel1 on July 22, 2011:
TeacherRenee on July 09, 2011:
You are so right -- learning can be fun (and it's actually better for children when it's fun because the kids are more engaged). I'm a retired kindergarten teacher and love reading about ways other people have found to make learning fun. Thanks for the great suggestions!
lasertek lm on May 06, 2011:
Very informative and great looking lens. Awesome job!
anonymous on May 02, 2011:
I am going to feature this lens on my Math Songs Lens=. Great job!!
Lisa Auch from Scotland on April 13, 2011:
what great ideas to bring so much fun from maths! I shall let my daughter see this for sure!
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on April 01, 2011:
These are great ideas! Now if I could only find some fun games for Algebra!
JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on March 05, 2011:
Math is one of my favorite subjects to teach because of all of the fun manipulatives! I wish I could come up with something for my high schoolers that is equally fun in their math. : )
LouisaDembul on February 21, 2011:
We are struggling with math at the moment, so I read this very carefully. Today we will try to make some game, I think that will work!
Jeanette from Australia on February 06, 2011:
Returning to say that this lens has been blessed by the maths angel and added to my best maths resources lens.
TheresaMarkham on January 29, 2011:
Great Lens! Love it!
ohcaroline on January 07, 2011:
This certainly beats how I learned math. I didn't really enjoy math until I got into algebra.
anonymous on January 06, 2011:
What fun...you've got me wanting to do math and no one has done that before!
javr from British Columbia, Canada on December 02, 2010:
Returned to deliver a blessing.
sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on November 28, 2010:
thanks for the great useful ideas. well presented lens.
Jeremy from Tokyo, Japan on November 25, 2010:
Thanks for the fun math ideas. Blessed and lensrolled to my teaching math with UNO lens.
hayleylou lm on November 20, 2010:
great ideas here, thanks :)
mrvardeman on November 12, 2010:
Very cool lens. Math can be so fun! I love teaching it.
jolielaide75 on November 10, 2010:
These are all wonderful ideas. I homeschool my daughter and I try to find creative ways to make math fun for her since it's not her best subject. Thanks for the tips
javr from British Columbia, Canada on November 03, 2010:
Good ideas here. Thanks.
Henk LM on October 26, 2010:
Nice ideas! My son is a bit too young now for math, but I'll be back here in a couple of years.
marsha32 on October 18, 2010:
my 14 yr old hates math...it is a struggle each day for her to get some done :(
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on September 16, 2010:
Great ideas! . . . this reminds me of my old homeschooling days.
anonymous on September 08, 2010:
Another fantastic lens, great topic, interesting and fun! I love math and working with numbers - Kathy
Ram Ramakrishnan on February 28, 2010:
Another great lens to do with education. I have been telling my friends who teach to look up your sites.
YourFirstTime on February 02, 2010:
Very original and fun ideas. Lensrolled you.
Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on November 30, 2009:
These are some great ideas! We have used most all of them at some time.
This lens is gladly featured at and lensrolled toTeaching and Learning Math Headquarters.
anonymous on November 19, 2009:
Great lens! Some great ideas here, thanks!
CoolFoto on October 25, 2009:
Math was never fun for me. Wish Squidoo and this lens had been around 30 years ago! lol
hlkljgk from Western Mass on August 12, 2009:
Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on August 10, 2009:
Thank you for being a member of Unit Studies: Fun, Creative Hands-On Leaning Group where it is now featured.
Jeanette from Australia on July 06, 2009:
What a great list of ideas. 5* We have done most of these activities and I must say that the games were the most popular.
Mountainside-Crochet on July 06, 2009:
What a wonderful list of math games and creative ways to make learning math fun for kids. My 7-yr-old grandson is VERY good at math and loves games, so he'd enjoy these interesting ways to learn very much. Welcome to the South Carolina Group.
puzzlerpaige on July 02, 2009:
I love all of your ideas. My favorite product on this page is School House Rock. I love it. And I'm going to show the turn math into a story examples to my daughter. 5*'s
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 02, 2009:
These are really some great ideas for teaching Math. Well done and welcome to the South Carolina group.
clouda9 lm on June 27, 2009:
You are a natural at this! Not everyone has the knack...kudos to you for getting it placed perfectly on a lens.
Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on June 26, 2009:
I love math. Great ideas here. I have lens rolled this to my homeschoolfun lens.
anonymous on June 26, 2009:
Nicely done! I love playing store! 5*****
Dianne Loomos on June 25, 2009:
My kids loved Miquon Math and Cuisenaire rods for math.
Bambi Watson on June 24, 2009:
Great ideas for an important subject!
Mary from Chicago area on June 24, 2009:
Wow--this is jampacked with terrific ideas. I've always loved that "roll over" song, and the video is so cute. 5*
bdkz on June 24, 2009:
Tiffany3 on June 24, 2009:
lingstar on June 24, 2009:
Make magic math! I would use pongs (those circular thingees) and show my kids how to group (multiplication/division). Great stuff!
anonymous on June 23, 2009:
Great ideas and so much more fun to learn math! Well done!!
anonymous on June 23, 2009:
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on June 23, 2009:
Nicely done...I'm sure we can all use these great ideas to teach kids learn an important subject that can be quiet difficult to teach in a fun kinda way!