This simple addition game for kids is a fun way to practice basic math skills by adapting another game you probably already have at home.
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I’m always looking for more ways to disguise learning time as play at our house (I’m a big fan of play-based learning in general). If your kids are like mine, they’re not thrilled by the idea of doing worksheets every day. The good news? They don’t have to!
Worksheets are not the only way to learn. In fact, they’re not even the best way to learn most of the time. Kids benefit greatly from being able to interact with information and approach it in a variety of hands-on ways. That’s why I’m a big proponent of learning games!
Today I’m sharing an addition game I’ve used to practice basic math skills with my kindergarten-age son. He’s proficient at identifying numbers and counting, but he’s still developing his addition skills.
Why “making ten” matters…
Learning how to use number pairs to “make ten” is a Common Core skill for kindergarten students. Specifically they are supposed to be able to do the following:
- Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10.
- For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number.
This simple little game is perfect for practicing those skills! Plus, it requires almost no prep and uses supplies you already probably have at home. All you need is a card game with numbered cards, like UNO, Phase Ten, SkipBo, or classic playing cards. That’s it!
So grab your kids, and let’s play!
“Make Ten” match
(addition game for kids)
- numbered playing cards (UNO, Phase Ten, SkipBo, or classic playing cards all work great)
- Two or more players
- Go through your set of cards and pull out two of each number 1-9. (If you’re using classic face cards, use aces for the number one.) You should have 18 cards total.
- Shuffle the cards and lay them out in a grid (see the picture).
How to play:
- Player one turns over two cards. If the numbers shown add up to 10, the player keeps the cards. If they don’t, the cards get flipped back over.
- Continue taking turns until someone gets a “match” of two cards that equal 10 (e.g. – 1 & 9, 2 & 8, etc.). The player who is able to “make 10” gets to keep the cards.
- Keep going until all matches have been found. The player with the most matches wins!
Tips for learning:
- As your child flips over the numbers, name them.
- Rather than just telling your child whether their pair is a match, take your time and help them do the counting to determine whether they have a match or not.
- To speed up their counting, try teaching your child the trick “counting on”. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you want to add 7 and 2. Teach your child to ask themselves “which number is bigger?” Seven, right? To use counting on, say “seven” and then count on two more, using your fingers to help keep track of the additional numbers. All together, you would say “seven, (then adding more fingers) eight, nine. Seven plus two equals NINE!”
Have younger kids that aren’t quite ready for addition?
For younger kids, you can do a traditional matching game to identify numbers (find 2 & 2, 3 & 3, etc.).
To expand their learning, talk about the numbers as you play. Say the names of the numbers, count to that number on your fingers, etc.
If you enjoyed this game, you’ll love my FREE printable number & counting flashcards!
Want more math games for kids? Try these!