Math Games for Grades K-3

Please note this math-teaching strategy comes from a booklet “Acing Math (One Deck at a Time)!” The Positive Engagement Project Project compiled this collection of math games at


These math strategies involve using playing cards as math games for students. (For teaching purposes only.) In her book “Win-Win Math games,” Author Marilyn Burns said, “Games help lift math off the textbook pages, and they support students’ learning about numbers and operations.”


There are many of these games for different grade levels. A few will be presented here and in subsequent newsletters and posts.


Math Games K-3


Card sort (grades K-3)

Players: Individual or groups of two.

Materials: Deck of cards.

Skill: Number recognition and group, sort, or categorize by attribute.

Students can sort by color, suit, number.


Greater or less than (grades K-3)

Players: Groups of two.

Materials: Cards Ace through 10 for each player, face cards removed.

Skill: Number recognition, order, and sequencing.


How to play: Each child gets a set of cards Ace through 10 (for the numbers 1-10.

One player selects a “secret card” from his/her hand and places it face down.


The second player tries to guess the number on the card by selecting a card from his/her hand and placing it face up. 


The first player then tells whether the secret card is greater than or less than the face-up card. 


The second player continues to make guesses by selecting and showing different cards so he/she has discovered the value of the secret card.


Players then switch roles.

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