# SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Math games are a fun and easy way to help your kids work on their math skills at home while school’s in and out of session. But choosing math games that are educational and fun can be tough, especially when you’re already juggling a busy schedule.

Don’t worry: we’re here to help. Our expert guide to 20 math games for preschoolers, elementary, and middle schoolers will help you choose games that are both educational and fun. We’ve compiled a mix of analog and digital games, too...so you’ll be able to choose the learning option that best suits your family.

Best of all, you can implement all of these games at home—and most of them are free!

## How to Use This List of Fun Math Games for Kids

Math games work best for your children when they’re properly matched with your child’s developmental stage and skill level, so we’ve divided our list of 20 fun math games for kids up into sections based on age (preschool, elementary, and middle school).

For each game, we’ve included a description of the math activity, a list of the materials you’ll need to implement it, the skills it teaches, and step-by-step directions for how to play or implement it. We’ve also included links to additional resources to make things even easier!

The great thing about math games for preschoolers is you don't need any special equipment. In fact, you can have fun using just your fingers!

## Math Games for Preschoolers

Though preschoolers are still new to the whole “math” thing, there are many math activities for preschoolers that are fun and easy to do at home. Check out our seven favorite activities below.

### Preschool Math Activity #1: Simple Finger Game

Kids love tactile activities, so why not use that to your advantage? Here’s how to play a simple finger game to help your child learn and understand arithmetic.

#### Materials

• Your child and their hands

#### Learning Concepts

• Counting
• Cardinality
• Subitizing (recognizing a numerical value on sight)
• Combining and taking apart sets

#### How to Play

2. Chant this rhyme together with your child: “Fingers, fingers, 1,2,3, how many fingers do you see?” (You can even come up with your own tune!)
3. Reveal your hands holding up a few fingers on each hand. For instance, show two fingers on your right hand and three fingers on your left hand.

You can do this over and over, holding up different numbers of fingers and combinations on each hand. To make the game a little more challenging, ask your child to use both hands and show five in a different way. You can also ask them to use their fingers to show you one more or one fewer than the number of fingers you held up. As your child gets older and has more practice, you can ask them how many fingers you are not raising.

Check out this website for more free math games for kids that use finger counting.

### Preschool Math Activity #2: Match the Dots

Match the Dots is a game for kids age three and older and can be played with up to four people, so you can get multiple little ones involved in this math activity! The goal of Match the Dots is to match the number on printed cards (which are linked below).

#### Materials

• Printer and ink to print the cards

#### Learning Concepts

• Correct number order
• One-to-one correspondence
• Subitizing

#### How to Play

1. In the deck you print out, there are two of each dice pair (so two ones, two twos, and so on.) Split those cards into two separate piles where the numbers don't repeat.
2. Place one deck face down. Spread the other cards face up on the table so everyone can see them.
3. The person whose turn it is selects one card from the deck, then counts the number of dots on that card out loud.
4. Then that person looks at the other cards on the table to find one that matches the number of dots on their first card.
5. If the person finds the correct match, they keep their cards. Play passes around the table until all the cards have been claimed.
6. The person with the most cards at the end of the game wins!

This is a great game to play because you can make it more difficult as your preschoolers’ skills advance. Once you’ve printed out dot cards, you can make up your own games with more challenging rules. For example, you can turn the cards upside down and make it a memory game! You can also mix all the cards together, then pull two cards from a face down pile and add or subtract them. This is a great way to practice higher order math skills.

You can look here for more free math games for kids that provide templates for dot activities.

### Preschool Math Activity #3: Raindrop Counting

Another great homemade math game for preschoolers is Raindrop Counting. This game combines math and art to give your kids some extra sensory stimulation as well.

#### Materials

• A white sheet of paper
• A black marker
• A thumbprint ink pad or child-safe finger paint

• Counting
• Matching

#### How to Play

1. Use the black marker to draw a line down the middle of the paper vertically, and a line down the middle horizontally. This divides the paper into four quadrants.
2. At the very top of each rectangle, draw a little cloud, then write a number inside each cloud (these should be numbers that a preschooler will recognize!).
3. Get out the thumbprint ink pad or finger paints and let your child make the correct number of thumbprints below each cloud. The thumbprints will look like raindrops!

You can repeat this activity with multiple sheets of paper, or try easy addition and subtraction in the clouds to encourage your child to figure out the number of thumbprints needed for each cloud. Your kids will love the fingerprinting aspect, which means they’ll probably want to play Raindrop Counting often!

Most people have a change jar sitting around. Counting coins is a great way to teach math skills! You can also teach kids how to calculate money and make change, too.

### Preschool Math Activity #4: Coin Sorting

If you have a bag of coins sitting around the house, Coin Sorting can be an easy and free math game for kids to play. You can also use Coin Sorting as an opportunity to teach your kids what the different types of coins are called, and how much they are worth!

#### Materials

• Bag of different types of coins
• 4 bowls to use for sorting

#### Learning Concepts

• Relationships and attributes
• How rules apply to sets
• Counting
• Currency

#### How to Play

1. Place four containers on a table for your child, and set out a bag of assorted coins. For younger children, keep the number of coins in the bag limited to ten or so. As they get better at counting, you can add more coins.
2. If this is your first time playing, explain the different types of coins, and show them what they look like.
3. Have your child sort the coins into the four containers by type, placing pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters into their correct containers.
4. Once the coins are sorted, use the printed copy of the emergent reader (linked above) to help your child practice recognizing the correct type of coin and how much they’re worth.

If you’re going to play this game with young preschoolers, make sure you start simply. Don’t try to teach all the core concepts at once! Initially, just have your child sort the coins by name and appearance, then count the number of coins in each bowl. As they progress, you can start teaching them what each coin is worth! Once they have that down, you can advance the game even further by asking them to add and subtract the coin amounts.

The key here is to tailor this game to fit your child’s current skill level. That will help you avoid a lot of frustration and help keep things fun!

Take a look at this website for many more ideas for math games you can implement just using a bag of coins.

### Preschool Math Activity #5: PBS Kids 1-2-3 Games

If you would like to try out some free math games for kids that your child can play independently or with light supervision, PBS Kids offers a variety of 1-2-3 games online that are appropriate for young children. These games use recognizable characters, like Grover from Sesame Street and Curious George to guide kids through these counting games.

#### Materials

• A digital device

#### Learning Concepts

• Number sense
• Subitizing
• Paying attention to directions

To help your child get set up to play 1-2-3 games through PBS Kids, simply download the app, select “1-2-3 Games,” and help your child select one from the list. They will be able to use the touchscreen to play with guidance from a narrator all on their own.

Depending on the age of your kiddos, you may have to help them learn to work the website. But PBS Kids is designed for kids, so you don’t have to worry about letting your children navigate the site on their own.

### Preschool Math Activity #6: Khan Academy Kids

Another option for free, web-based math games for kids that your child can play on their own is Khan Academy Kids. Math games from Khan Academy are free, geared toward kids ages 2-6, and use an adaptable learning plan that suits your child’s skill level. These games are available through the Khan Academy Kids app, so you can take these math activities on the go!

#### Materials

• A digital device

#### Learning Concepts

• Counting numbers 1-2-3
• Subitizing
• Comparing numbers

### Preschool Math Activity #7: Animal Math Preschool Games

Animal Math Preschool provides over 100 free, digital math games for kids. (The games are all based around cute farm animals, which is an added bonus!) The games provided in this app adhere to Common Core Standards and offer positive encouragement as your child practices number and color recognition, matching, and grouping like items.

#### Materials

• A digital device
• Access to web browser or app store to download the free Animal Math Preschool Games app (note that there are in-app purchase options)

#### Learning Concepts

• Number recognition
• Subtraction
• Basic shapes

To get your child set up with Animal Math Preschool Games, simply download the app and help them select a free farm animal avatar, then the math games immediately begin! The wonderful part about Animal Math games is that they’re designed to fit with Common Core standards, which means they’re a perfect way to supplement what your kids are already learning in their classrooms.

Elementary school math games are way more fun than doing pages (and pages, and pages) of math equations. Trust us: your whole family will have fun with these activities!

## Math Games for Elementary Schoolers

For elementary-aged kids, math games can reduce the pressure of learning newer, harder skills and provide crucial repetition for memorizing important information, like times tables. Check out seven  awesome math activities for elementary kids below!

### Elementary Math Activity #1: Countdown

This challenging math game uses items you already have at home to help kids practice using different math operations. It’s also a multiplayer game, so you can play with your child or have multiple children play together.

#### Materials

• 24 index cards, sticky notes, or small pieces of paper
• Marker
• Dice
• Scratch paper and pens/pencils for equations

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Multiplication
• Division
• Problem-solving
• Collaboration

#### How to Play

1. Write the following numbers on four of the cards: 25, 50, 75, 100. Lay the four cards face down, then mix them up. These are the “big number” cards.
2. Create two sets of cards numbered 1-10. Set these cards out, face down, and mix them up as well. These are the “small number” cards.
3. Have players take turns selecting cards from either card pile until there are a total of 6 cards selected (don’t turn them over yet!). There are no set rules about how many cards you have to draw from each pile. This is part of the strategy of the game.
4. Now that you have your cards, you’ll need to generate a three digit number by having one player roll the dice three times. For example, if you roll a 5, a 5, and a 4, then your three-digit number will be 554!
5. Once the three-digit number has been generated, each player turns over their 6 selected cards. Players must try to use the numbers on the 6 cards to get to the three-digit number generated by the dice using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division.
6. Each of the 6 upturned cards can only be used once! The person who is able to calculate the three-digit number the fastest wins the round.
7. The game progresses until one player wins three rounds.

Because this game requires more advanced math skills like multiplication and division, we recommend you play it with older elementary aged kids. You can also lower the game’s difficulty level by creating two-digit numbers you have to match or allowing players to use cards more than once!

For a full demonstration of how to play Countdown, check out this video

### Elementary Math Activity #2: 24

Older elementary students who have begun working with division and multiplication will enjoy using a deck of cards to play 24. This is a simplified version of It’s In the Cards for children who don’t have a sibling or friend to play with. It’s also an easier version of the Countdown game above, so if that game seems too advanced for your learners, try this one instead!

#### Materials

• One deck of playing cards
• Paper and pen

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Multiplication
• Division
• Problem solving

#### How to Play

1. Remove all of the face cards from the deck except for the aces. Shuffle the remaining cards and place them face down on a table.
2. Draw four cards from the deck and lay them out face up.
3. The objective is to make 24 using only the numbers on the 4 selected cards using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
4. If your child can’t get to 24 with the selected cards, discard those to the bottom of the deck and select 4 more to try again.

Like many of the pen-and-paper games on our list, 24 is customizable so you can make it as complex or simple as you’d like. You can also incorporate writing into this activity by having your child write out the equations they used to get 24, or make it more challenging by changing the number of cards they use! This game is usually played solo, but you can make it competitive as well. Just start a timer and see who can get to 24 the fastest!

Check out this video tutorial for a full demonstration of how to play 24.

### Elementary Math Activity #3: Measurement Scavenger Hunt

So far, we’ve talked a lot about math games for older elementary-aged kids. Here’s a game that’s perfect for learners at the younger end of the age spectrum! Kids begin learning measurements during elementary school, and a Measurement Scavenger Hunt helps them practice those skills. It also gets them moving around the house to expend some energy, which is always a good thing!

#### Materials

• Yardstick, ruler, or tape measure
• Pencil
• Sheet of paper

#### Learning Concepts

• Units of measurement
• Estimation
• Conversions

#### How to Play

1. Give your child the yardstick or ruler, pencil, and paper.
2. Pick a length that’s between one inch and 36 inches (so that you can actually measure it). This will be the length that all the players try to match.
3. Set a timer for one minute for the “guessing period.” During this time, players will try to “guesstimate” three objects around the house that match the length that’s been chosen. For example, say the length you’re matching is six inches. You’ll then have one minute to write down three objects around the house that you think are six inches long, like a butter knife or a book!
4. Now, all players go around the house and measure each other’s objects, then record the lengths. The player who picked an object that’s closest to the original length wins!

There are many ways to make this game more challenging. First, you could have players average their three estimated lengths together, then determine a winner based on which average is closest to the chosen length. Or you could have your kids measure the items to the nearest eighth of an inch, then convert the measurement to decimals. You can also have players practice conversions from inches to yards, for example, by having them measure more items or bigger objects.

Have a deck of playing cards? Then you're all set to have hours of mathematical fun.

### Elementary Math Activity #4: It’s in the Cards

This game puts a spin on the card game War by incorporating subtraction and fractions. This is also a great option for bigger families since multiple people can play at once!

#### Materials

• A traditional deck of cards with Jokers removed

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Fractional values

#### How to Play

1. Assign numerical values to the aces and face cards in the deck: 1 to the ace, 11 to the jack, 12 to the queen, and 13 to the king. Values for the cards two through 10 remain the same.
2. Playing in pairs, each child takes two cards from the deck and lays them face up.
3. Each child then subtracts the lower number from the higher of the two cards they selected.
4. The child who has the higher number wins all four cards. If the totals are the same, the players each flip over two more cards and repeat until there is a winner.
5. Play through the deck until there are no cards left. The person who has captured the most cards wins!

To make this game more challenging, have your children use the two cards to form a fraction, and then compare to see who has the larger fraction. You can also make things harder by having players multiply cards together to come up with the highest number instead.

### Elementary Math Activity #5: Prodigy

For some digital math learning, have your child check out Prodigy. Prodigy allows you to select your country, state, and child’s grade level in order to match the math games with your child’s Common Core state standards. This game also enables children to interact with friends, go on quests, and practice a variety of math skills.

#### Materials

• A digital device

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Multiplication
• Division
• Fractions

In order for your child to benefit from Prodigy, all you need to do is download the app and provide an email address, your child’s grade level, and the state you live in so that the game can tailor the math content to your child’s learning needs. Prodigy is free, but there is also a monthly subscription plan and in-app purchases that will unlock additional game features, too. If you’re looking for a game your child can play that reinforces the skills they’re learning in the classroom, Prodigy is a good option!

### Elementary Math Activity #6: SplashLearn

Another great digital learning option is SplashLearn, a K-5th grade interactive game that adapts to your child’s learning needs. The game also sends progress reports via email if you are interested in tracking your child’s learning.

#### Materials

• A digital device

#### Learning Concepts

• Mixed operations
• Geometry
• Money
• Measurements and data
• Place value and number sense

Get your child started with SplashLearn by downloading the app and creating an account. You and your child can then select specific math skills to focus on, like advanced addition/subjection and operations. While there is free content, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee to unlock some of SplashLearn’s additional features.

### Elementary Math Activity #7: Geoboard

If you think your elementary schooler would benefit from some open-ended math gameplay, check out the Geoboard web app. This game is based on the old-school geoboards kids use in classrooms, and it allows players to guide their own learning and experiment with geometry, shapes, fractions, and more.

#### Learning Concepts

• Perimeter
• Angles
• Area
• Congruence
• Fractions

Children access the Geoboard online and use virtual stretching bands to create line segments and polygons around the Geoboard’s pegs. They can then write equations and expressions using the app’s text tool. This game helps learners see how shapes are actually mathematical figures as well, and it will help them learn foundational geometry concepts.

Middle school math games are a bit more complex than those for younger learners. But don't worry—you don't need tons of special equipment to play them. Pens, graph paper, and a pair of dice are enough to play games like Block Out!

## Math Games for Middle Schoolers

Middle schoolers can tend to feel too cool for educational games, but game-based learning can help them grasp more advanced math concepts. The six fun math games for kids below are fun enough to hold middle schoolers’ attention, while still teaching them math skills (whether they realize it or not)!

### Middle School Math Activity #1: Exponent Battle

Dust off a deck of playing cards to engage your middle schoolers in a game of Exponent Battle. This is a competitive, two-player game that helps your children practice math in a speedy situation.

#### Materials

• A deck of playing cards

#### Learning Concepts

• Exponents
• Multiplication

#### How to Play

1. Deal out the entire deck of cards to both players until there are no cards left. The cards should be left face down.
2. Each player turns up their top card at the same time. This card represents the base number for each player. Here’s how to calculate face cards: aces are ones, jacks are 11, queens are 12, and kings are 13.
3. Each player then turns over the next card in their stack. This card represents the exponent for each player.
4. The players compete to calculate the exponential value of their cards first. The player who shouts out the correct value first wins and collects all four cards from that round.
5. The game continues until all cards from both decks are turned over. The person who earns the most cards is the winner!

This game can be tough. For a simpler version, allow players to have a piece of paper and pencil to help them run through calculations.

### Middle School Math Activity #2: Block Out

This two-player game allows middle schoolers to practice geometry using a couple of dice and some graph paper. (If you don’t have graph paper at home, you can print some out for free here.) Kids can play this game alone, or compete with another player.

• 2 dice
• Graph paper

• Geometry

#### How to Play

1. The goal of this game is to strategically add rectangles to a piece of graph paper in order to fit as many rectangles on the paper as possible.
2. The first player rolls two dice. The first number rolled will be the length of a rectangle, and the second number rolled is the width of a rectangle. So for example, if you rolled a 6 and a 2, the length of the rectangle would be six boxes and the width would be two boxes.
3. The first player draws a rectangle with the length and width from their dice rolls on a piece of graph paper. They should label the length and width correctly, then figure the area of the rectangle and write it in the middle.
4. The second player repeats this process, rolling the two dice, drawing a rectangle on their graph paper, and writing the value of the area in the middle of the rectangle.
5. The players repeat this process until a player rolls a rectangle that they can no longer fit on their graph paper because they’re out of space. At that point, the players should add up the area of all of the rectangles.
6. The player with the largest value wins.

If you’re using a full sheet of graph paper, this game can take quite a while. To speed things up, tear your graph paper in half or even in quarters.

### Middle School Math Activity #3: Dream Vacation Budget

If your kids are cooped up at home and dreaming of faraway places, have them work on a budget for their dream vacation. This activity isn’t necessarily a game, but it’s a good way for kids to practice real-world math skills while engaging in some fun daydreaming.

#### Materials

• A digital device and Internet access for doing a little research
• Paper
• Pen or pencil

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Multiplication
• Budgeting

#### How to Play

1. Assign your child a budget of \$2500, then have them choose a destination for their vacation.
2. Give them a list of vacation expenses to incorporate into the budget. These expenses could include transportation, lodging, activities and sightseeing, and food.
3. Get them to do some research on real-life expenses for these items online. You can point them toward travel websites like Expedia or TripAdvisor to start.
4. Have them record all of their expenses on a sheet of paper and subtract them from their \$2500 budget.

This activity is nice because it allows learners to develop some practical mathematical skills and hone their online research chops as well! If you want to gamify this activity, you can add some additional objectives for kids to meet. For example, maybe you require them to use a car as their primary source of transportation, or you tell them you only want to eat at restaurants that are rated four stars and above. Or you could ask them to budget a trip to a specific place, like Disneyland! Let

The key here is to encourage creativity. The more kids are able to dream big, the more fun they’ll have.

If you're a parent who needs some hands-off play time, there are plenty of digital games your middle schoolers can play. DragonBox is one of our favorites, and you can learn more about it below.

### Middle School Math Activity #4: Math Play Online

Middle schoolers love technology, so digital math games are definitely worth checking out. Math-Play.com provides free online math games for middle school students that are based on popular game shows kids recognize and enjoy. Games like Exponents Jeopardy and Square Roots Millionaire make challenging math concepts competitive.

#### Learning Concepts

• Integers
• Exponents, factors, and multiples
• Various operations with fractions
• Various operations with square roots
• Probability and inequality
• Angles, coordinates, and planes
• Algebraic expressions

When accessing the Math Play website, your child can select their grade level to find games designed for their age group, or you can select games from the Middle School Math Games page based on topic or skill. Once you get your learner set up, they’ll be able to choose which games they want to play on their own.

### Middle School Math Activity #5: DragonBox Algebra 12+

DragonBox Algebra is an app designed to help students develop their foundational algebra skills. This app was developed by a cognitive psychologist and high school teachers in order to teach kids algebra through exploration and play.

Keep in mind that this app comes with an \$8 price tag. If you’re looking for free math games, be sure to check out the other options on our list.

#### Learning Concepts

• Parentheses
• Positive and negative signs
• Addition of fractions and common denominators
• Collection of like terms
• Factorization
• Substitution

Your child can download this app for iPhone or Google Play and learn at their own pace by experimenting with algebraic rules and concepts that are introduced over time. The cool part about this game is that there’s a story that goes along with it. When kids start playing, they’re given a dragon egg. As they keep playing, their dragon hatches and begins to grow!

### Middle School Math Activity #6: Twelve A Dozen

Twelve a Dozen is a digital math game that invites players to help save the crumbling world of Dozenopolis by solving math puzzles that lead to the defeat of the villain Ultimate Prime.

While this game has excellent reviews, only the first level is free to play. In order to save Dozenopolis, you’ll have to pay a \$5/month subscription fee.

#### Learning Concepts

• Subtraction
• Multiplication
• Division

Twelve a Dozen is an interesting game because it’s designed to reinforce skills that players already have rather than teach new ones. Because Twelve a Dozen provides supplemental practice through play, it’s important that your child already have some experience with the math skills listed above.

## 3 Tips for Using Math Games to Learn at Home

Learning math outside of school feels intimidating for many students and parents, but math games don’t have to be scary. Our three tips for playing math games at home will help you focus, relax, and connect as a family while maintaining and developing math skills.

### Tip 1: Play With Your Kids

If your kids see that you’re enthusiastic about math activities, it’s more likely they’ll take the time to focus on the math games you want them to play. Carving out 30 minutes to play math games with your child will emphasize the value of play as a learning tool and remind your child that you’re invested in their educational experience.

Plus, even if you can only get involved for a few minutes, taking that time to tune in can help your child feel comfortable asking you questions or clarifying aspects of the game that they might not understand. That’s especially important for digital games, where kids might get stuck on a concept or not understand why a certain answer is correct.

### Tip 2: Keep It Low Pressure

The whole point of playing math games is to make learning fun! That’s why it’s probably a good idea to use math games as a form of practice rather than as a strict study routine. The low-key, enjoyable atmosphere that games cultivate can create space for students to learn in ways that they might not be able to when they’re in school or studying for math tests.

So try not to use games as a metric to judge how well or advanced your student is. Instead, keep your math game endeavors low pressure, relax, and use them as an opportunity to experiment with what students are already learning.

### Tip 3: Use Games for Study Breaks and to Retain Concepts

If you’re an older student preparing for quizzes and tests, math games can come in handy for study breaks and refreshing your memory on math concepts. If it’s hard for you to get focused for a productive study session, use math games as a warm up to ease your brain into a learning mindset. You can also use math games for study breaks if you need a few minutes to switch up the pace, but don’t want to get off-task and distracted from math-y things.

When you’ve learned a new skill or concept, you can also use math games to practice and retain what you’ve learned. One of the best things about math games is that you can fail over and over again, and it’s totally okay! In fact, giving yourself space to mess up and keep trying will help you understand math more thoroughly in the long run.

## What’s Next?

There are a whole slew of excellent educational games out there, especially for younger learners. If you have young kids who are learning reading skills, make sure to check out our list of the best sight word games, too.

For older kids that already have some basic reading skills under their belt, games can also be a great way to boost their vocabulary skills. Here’s a breakdown of the best spelling games you can use to help build those vocabulary chops.

Don’t worry, high schoolers: there are great learning games for you, too. If you’re getting ready to take the ACT, why not use games to help you study for the test? (And if you’re taking the SAT, there are learning games available for you, too.)

Ashley Robinson