If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for material to add, I’d love to hear from you!


Resources: Games


Dr. Wright’s Kitchen Table Math books contain many of my own games, not listed here, that help strengthen your child’s knowledge and enjoyment of math. Those listed here are the commercially available games.

Go To

Problem Solving Games:

  • Mixmath (made by Wrebbit): Mixmath is a scrabble-like game that uses numbers and arithmetic rather than letters and words.
  • ’SMATH (made by Pressman): Similar to Mixmath, ’SMATH is a scrabble-like game that uses numbers and arithmetic rather than letters and words.

Back to the top

Target Numbers Games

  • 24 Game (produced by Suntex International, Inc.): The basic game involves cards with 4 single-digit numbers on them. The object is to produce the number 24. The four numbers on the card can be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided in any order, but they must each be used exactly once. For example, a card with 6, 3, 2, and 6 can be solved with either of (6 - 3) × (2 + 6) = 24 or (6 ÷ 3) × 2 × 6 = 24. . The game develops number sense and provides lots of excellent practice with math facts. The company provides several card packs with variations on this theme. Each variation emphasizes different skills, such as algebra or decimals.
  • Krypto (sold by The Making People Happy Company): It is similar to the Number Jumbler game. Instead of using dice, this game uses cards with the numbers from 1 to 25 on them. A target card is dealt, and then five cards are dealt to be used to generate the target. The numbers on the five cards can be combined in any order using any arithmetic operation. The price for the game is quite low, but it is also quite easy for you to make for yourself.
  • Number Jumbler (sold by Discovery Toys): This is very similar to the 24 game, only it provides more variety of target results. It consists of seven cubes that spin freely. Five of the cubes are colored and have the numbers from one to six on them. There are two black cubes, one of which has the numbers from one to six, and the other has the tens from 10 to 60. The game is played by putting together the numbers on the black cubes to form a two-digit goal number between 1 and 66. The numbers on the five colored cubes are each used once, and are combined by any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. For beginning players it is easier if you do not insist that all of the colored numbers be used in the answer. You can make a workable version of this game using ordinary dice pretty easily. It would even be an improvement to use 8-sided dice instead of the standard six-sided ones.

Back to the top

Miscellaneous Games

  • Quarto! (produced by Family Games): Each playing piece has four characteristics—square or round, light or dark, short or tall, and solid or hollow. The board is a 4 by 4 grid. The players try to place a fourth piece in a row, column, or diagonal, so that the four pieces have at least one characteristic in common. It is a lovely game using characteristics and patterns.
  • Rack-O (produced by Parker Brothers): This is a simple 2 to 4 player card game that provides excellent practice in ordering and comparing the numbers from 1 to 60.
  • RAMI, the binary teacher (made by Quercetti): This game uses switches, labelled 1 and 0, to alter the path of the maze and guide marbles down to a pre-ordained slot. Children can play with this entirely enjoying the action of the marbles running down pathways being guided by the switches. After they play with it for a while, they may start noticing patterns, such as that one of the switches determines whether the marble will roll to one of the first 8 slots or one of the last 8 slots. In this way, just by playing and experimenting, a child gains a feeling for how binary numbers work.
  • Rush Hour, Traffic Jam Puzzle (by ThinkFun): This games contains 40 puzzles that involve shuffling around small plastic cars and trucks on a small grid. The puzzles range in difficulty from quite easy to extremely difficult. The puzzles are logical problems that are good for very young children in that they are kinesthetically oriented and require no numeric skills. There are several products similar to Rush Hour made by ThinkFun, and the series is quite popular.
  • Set (produced by Set Enterprises, Inc.): The game consists of a deck of cards, with each card containing a different shape in a different pattern, color, or number of shapes. A “set” consists of three cards with the property that each of the four features is either completely different or entirely the same. This game can be enjoyed by very young kids, and can be played well by kids as young as 4 years old. It can also be quite challenging and enjoyable for adults.
  • Tangram, Pentominoes, and Blokus (made by Mattel): Tangram and Pentominoes use a set of flat shapes to create puzzles for creating flat designs. While you can make a set of either of these, you will be happier buying sets from a web retailer that carries them. A Tangram set is a square cut up into seven pieces—five triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. Pentominoes consists of 12 figures, each a different shape using five squares. The game is to create a specified challenge shape with some or all of the figures in the set. A set of challenge shapes comes with each set, but you can also find these shapes by looking on the web, or by creating your own. There are many commercial games in which opponents fit pieces together to form shapes or block an opponent. Blokus, made by Mattel, uses pieces similar to Pentominoes pieces, and stands out in this group.
  • Towers of Hanoi: This puzzle consists of three poles and a set, usually 8, of different size disks that fit onto the poles. The game starts with all of the disks arranged in order of size placed around one of the poles. The goal is to move all of the disks to another pole. There are two rules for moving the disks: you may only move one disk at a time, and a disk may not be placed on top of a smaller disk. This puzzle provides practice with comparing sizes and counting small numbers of objects. A child can enjoy playing around with it without having to solve the whole puzzle.

Back to the top

Popular Games Involving Math


Parcheesi
  • Aggravation: This game is a good starting game that involves simple counting or matching.
  • Backgammon: This board game is a little bit more difficult, but well within the reach of children who have learned basic adding facts.
  • Blackjack: This game is a little bit more difficult, but well within the reach of children who have learned basic adding facts.
  • Chutes and Ladders: This board game is a good starting game that involves simple counting or matching.
  • Cribbage: This board game is a little more difficult, but well within the reach of children who have learned basic adding facts.
  • Dominoes: This game is a good starting game that involves simple counting or matching.
  • Go Fish: This card game can be played at a basic level of counting and matching.
  • Parcheesi: This board game is a little more difficult, but well within the reach of children who have learned basic adding facts.
  • Rummy: This game can be played at a basic level of counting and matching.
  • Solitaire: This card game can be played at a basic level of counting and matching.
  • Sorry: This board game is a good starting game that involves simple counting or matching.

Back to the top

© 2012 Chris Wright