Playing games during class is a sure-fire way to keep students engaged, and can benefit learning and retention, if the content relates to your lessons! Short, interactive activities from every subject in Evan-Moor’s Ten-Minute Activities, can help fill class time with productive learning games.
Reinforce important math concepts with interactive games that keep students’ minds engaged and learning. Check out our favorite short math activities below.
Playing Card Games for Addition
There are several card games you can play to improve addition skills for grades 1–3. For each of the games below, you will need cards numbered 0–9, two or three sets per student. You can make these cards by hand or use a deck of cards (removing the face cards) which is enough for two students.
Go-Fish for Tens
Divide students into groups of 2–4. Each group will need a large pile of cards.
- One player deals 7 cards to each player, and puts the rest of the cards in a stack.
- Players will look at their cards and lay down any pairs that result in 10.
For example: 4 and 6, 8 and 2, 9 and 1,7 and 3
- Starting with the dealer, one player will ask another for a card that allows them to make a sum of 10. If the player being asked has the card, they must give it to the first player; if they do not, they say “Go Fish” and the player who asked must draw from the stack of cards. If the player can make a sum of 10 from the card they draw, they get another turn. If not, the next player goes.
- Keep playing until one player has made all their cards into pairs or no more pairs can be made. The player with the most pairs wins.
Say it Another Way
- Divide students into pairs. Give each pair a pile of cards.
- Each student takes 7 cards, leaving the rest stacked between them.
- Player 1 takes the top two cards from the stack and lays them face up in between both players. The players calculate the sum.
- Players look at their own hand of cards and try to create combinations that equal the same sum. For example, if the two cards had a sum of 12, players could use a 6 and a 6, or even 4 and 2 and 3 and 3.
- Cards equaling the sum are placed in a discard pile.
- Two more cards are turned over and the players continue.
- The first player to use all seven of their cards wins.
No materials are required for this quick and simple math activity!
- Students can sit at their desks or in a circle for this activity.
- Call out a simple addition problem; for example, 2+3.
- Give students time to calculate, then call out “go” or “answer” to signal them to start.
- Students will then respond by “clapping” the answer; for example, 5 claps. (This works best if you’ve practiced or demonstrated a steady, rhythmic clapping beat so that students clap at the same time).
- For variation, try this with subtraction.
Generate a Sum
For this activity, you will need numbered cards 0–9, like in the card game activities. You will need two or three sets per student.
- Divide students into pairs and give each pair a pile of cards.
- To play, each student turns over the top two cards in their pile and adds them together.
- The student with the greatest sum keeps all four cards in a new pile.
- The Play continues until one player has no more cards left.
Whether you’re encouraging independent learning or looking for productive time fillers, these ten-minute math activities will keep students engaged and learning.
Ten Minute Math Activities and Games for Grades 1–3