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Math fun with dice and cards

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Math fun with dice and cards

Looking for ways to keep your kids engaged on rainy days or long car rides and fight off "summer learning loss?" (39 separate studies have shown student can loose up to 2.6 months of learning over the summer.) It's easy! All you need is a deck of cards, some dice, and a little imagination. Here are a few games and ideas to get you started …

Multiplication Baseball

Equipment: Two 6-sided dice, a labeled drawing of a baseball diamond (a square with 1, 2, 3, and "Home" each in a corner), some small plastic chips or game pieces.

How to play: Roll two six-sided dice and multiply the numbers. Use the chart below to determine how your batter hits. (If you give the wrong answer, it counts as a strike.) Move a marker around the bases for each batter. After three outs, teams switch

Presented in the following order: Roll; Outcome

1-6; "Strike"

8-12; "Out"

15-18; "Single"

20-24; "Double"

25-30; "Triple"

32-36; "Home run"

Change the operation: Play "Addition Baseball" (add 2 or more dice together), or "Subtraction Baseball" (subtract two dice). All that is required is that the action chart is modified to reflect the new possible ranges of answers.

Change the difficulty: The action chart could be changed to make the game easier or harder by increasing or decreasing the size of each possible answer range.

Change the analogy: If your kids don't like baseball, make it soccer, or tennis, or any other game.

Addition Snap

Equipment: Deck of cards with the picture cards removed, leaving (Ace=1) to 9.

How to play: Divide the cards into two equal piles (one for each player). Next, each player turns over a card at the same time. Each player adds the two cards up as quickly as possible and says the sum out loud. The first player to give the correct answer collects the two cards and adds them to the bottom of his/her pile. The game continues until one player has all the cards.

Variations: Change the size of the cards. If the facts from 1-10 are too difficult, remove the larger numbers. Additional decks of cards can also be used if required.

Change the operation: This game can also be modified into "Subtraction Snap" or "Multiplication Snap".

Change the number of players: The more players, the more numbers that need to be added together.

By presenting basic math skills in a games format, even the most math-phobic child will rise to the challenge and start to practice basic facts. The best thing a student ever said to me, "I was having so much fun, I didn't even know I was learning!"

So the next time you hear your kids cry, "We're bored!" be sure to reach for a deck of cards or some dice. Not only will you be helping your kids fill their days, you'll also help to strengthen their math skills and combating summer learning loss.





  • Rob Stringer is a certified Parenting Coach and elementary school teacher. Visit