If you do an internet search for Maths Games you will find lots of maths games that can be played on a computer. But what if you don't have a computer or if the children in your class are all "computered out"? Here is a collection of maths games that can be played using either no resources, or simple resources that are around the classroom.

Twenty One

The object of the game is to be the first one to say "21". The first person must start at "1". Each person may say one, two, or three numbers per turn, and the numbers must be in counting order. Each person must start with the number after the last one that the other person said. For example, the first person can say "1", or "1, 2", or "1, 2, 3." If the first person says "1, 2", then the second person could say "3" or "3, 4", or "3, 4, 5". Whoever says "21" wins the game. Play this game many times and try to discover a winning strategy.

Last Unique

Everyone in the room has to think of a number between 1 and 20. Whoever thinks of the lowest number wins the game but if anyone else thinks of your number then you are both out. Each pupil stands in front of their chairs so that they can sit down quickly. Every pupil has to sit down the moment their number is called. Start counting backwards from 20, slowly and clearly. Any pupil who sits down on their own becomes "the current champion". The pupil with the last unique number is the winner.

Quick draw times tables

Children work in pairs with their hands behind their back. They say 1, 2, 3 bang and both show their hands with a certain number of fingers showing. For example child A has 5 fingers on show and child B has 7. They then perform a quick multiplication 5X7= 35 the winner is the first to shout the answer.

Times table shootout

Two children come up to the front of the class. You say a times table question. The first one to shout out the answer wins.


For this game you need a numberline and 2 clothes pegs. One child chooses a number and the other child has to ask higher/lower than questions. As the clues are given, the clothes pegs are moved to "squeeze" the number.

Dealing in Data

This game is great for working on mean, mode, median and range. All you need is a deck of cards. You can play the game with as few as two people, but the more the merrier. The value of each card is as follows: aces = 1, jacks = 11, queens = 12, and kings = 13. Once each player is dealt five cards, they must put them in order from least to greatest without revealing their cards to the other players. Students must then strategically choose to score using the range, median, or mode. If a player chooses mode, they must have at least two cards with the same number.

Here are some examples of how the game works:

  • The first player receives these cards - 2,5,6,7,9. He chooses range as his data measure. The range equals 7, so he receives 7 points.
  • Player two is dealt 5,5,8,9,10. She chooses the median which earns her 8 points.
  • Player three receives these cards: 1,7,9,9,K and selects mode. Therefore, player three receives 9 points.
  • Before anyone reveals their cards, all players must indicate which data measure they are going to use. Each player uses a different data measure for each round (three hands make a round). For more sophisticated play, each player can exchange two cards for new cards from the deal pile.

Factor Concentration

This next game is designed to keep students' multiplication skills sharp. To play, students need a deck of cards with the face cards removed, and tokens to keep score. As the teacher, you select a target goal for the game. For example, tell your students you want them to learn all the factors of thirty-six today. Your players will then draw two cards, and if a student can use any operation to make her two numbers into a factor of 36, they get a token. For example, someone draws 6 and 9. 9-6=3 and 3 is a factor of 36. A second token can be taken if the student can name the factor that completes the pair, in this case 12. The cards are then placed into a discard pile.

Variation: Once the children have played it a few times, the teacher can use multiple target goals in the same game.

Number War

For this game, each player must turn up three cards. They can use any operation to create the biggest number that will win the set. To work on division skills, change the rule to have the smallest number win the set.

Fraction War

Fraction War is a spinoff of the classic card game War. All that’s needed is a deck of cards with the face cards removed. This game is played in pairs, and you begin by having each player turn up two cards. The smaller number acts as the numerator, and the larger is the denominator. In order to win the set, you need to have the larger fraction of the two. It is fun to hear students puzzle over whether 2/9 is bigger than 3/10.

First to 100

For this game you just need a pack of cards. You can play by yourself, but it 's more fun with two or three players. Shuffle the pack and place it face down. Set a target score for the game, for example 100. The first player turns over the top card and continues turning over cards, adding together the value of each card, until he/she decides to stop. (Jacks = 11, Queens = 12.) When the player stops, the total is recorded as his/her score. However, if an Ace or King is turned over, no points are scored at all and the turn is finished. Now the second player starts turning over cards in the same way. Players continue having turns and building their scores until someone reaches the target score. This player is the winner. If the cards are all turned over before the target is reached, just reshuffle the pack and continue.

Magic 15

This is a game for two players. Begin with the numbers 1 to 9. Players take turns to select a number, with each number used only once. The winner is the first player to have exactly three numbers that total 15.

Roll Six

Players roll six dice and use five of the numbers together with any of the four operations to make the sixth number. Points are scored for successful equations.

Tables Fish

Use the rules of the old favourite "Fish", but make a pack of cards for whichever multiplication facts need practising. For example, if you are practising the 9 times table, you would have three cards for each multiplication fact - 72, 9 x 8 and 8 x 9


Make a pile of seven counters. Two players each take turns to remove either one or two counters from the pile. The player left with last counter is the loser .

If you have any maths games that have worked for you, please add them to the comments below.

Date Category Education  Tags maths / teaching
Gary Hall
Article by Gary Hall
A teacher based in Beverley, England. Enjoys walking, travelling, reading and writing interesting content to help others. Feel free to comment below.


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