Amazing math games your students will love

Looking for math games that your middle school students will love? This growing list of math games for kids includes some free online math games, some pdf printables, and some math games that are new to me! Math games include, Set. KenKen, Connect 4, Blitz Champz, Blokus, Sum of Which, Can You Make It?, Prime Climb, 4 Numbers, 2048 and Mobi Math.

When you need a math game, you need a math game. Some days in math class - days before vacations, early release days, days when half the class is out testing, catch up days - there's a real possibility all heck will break loose without a backup plan!

Gone are the days of popping in a movie on these hectic days. Now it's all about rigor and time on task. But this doesn't mean there is no wiggle room.  Students can still have fun while at the same time continuing to exercise those rapidly growing math brains. 

I taught middle school math for one year before running back to high school. Especially with middle schoolers, it was super important to always have that backup plan ready. Any little thing would be enough to set the whole class off! It was in these times I needed to be quick on my feet to keep things going.

It seems pretty often that I am coming across another, new (or new to me), math game on social media. As I find more, I plan to add them to this list. If you make a math game or love a specific math game, I'd love to add it to this list. 

So lets get started! 

Looking for math games that your middle school students will love? This growing list of math games for kids includes some free online math games, some pdf printables, and some math games that are new to me! Math games include, Set. KenKen, Connect 4, Blitz Champz, Blokus, Sum of Which, Can You Make It?, Prime Climb, 4 Numbers, 2048 and Mobi Math.


Amazing math games your students will love


1: Blitz Champz

Photo of Blitz Champz, a football-themed math game

This first game called Blitz Champz is one I came to know through Instagram. It's a football-themed game where players add and subtract their card values until a player gets to 21 total points.

Photo of Blitz Champz, a football-themed math game

There are green (offense), red (defense) and yellow (continuation) cards in the deck, which is about the size of two decks of standard playing cards.

My daughter loves this game. If you have competitive students they will probably love it too.


2: Blokus

Photo of Blokus, a strategy game

Of course Blokus has to be in this list! I had never actually heard of the game until probably 7 years ago. It's a great strategy game that gets kids' minds churning. 

Photo of Blokus, a strategy game

Each player has 21 color tiles. The object is to use as many tiles on the board as you can by touching corners of same-color tiles. Same-color tiles can't touch along edges and must touch at their corners.


3: Sum of Which

Sum of Which is another game I came across on Instagram. It was recently sold to a larger game company.

Photo of the Sum of Which game board

The goal of the game is to make as many sums of 10 as you can from your own tiles and the board's built-in points. 

Photo of the baggies I use to organize the Sum of Which game pieces

There are setup steps involving placing all tiles face down and randomly choosing... I have found it works just as well to bag the tiles and pick without looking. Opaque bags may work better, but these bags work just fine.

Photo of the Sum of Which game board with game pieces placed

Red, blue and green tiles are the board's "built-in" points. The yellow tiles are placed by the players. Points definitely need to be tallied on paper because scores get pretty high. This also adds to the math.


4: Voyage to the Treasure!

Voyage to the Treasure! collaborative math games

Voyage to the Treasure! is a math game series my friend Alex from Middle School Math Man and I have been working on. It's a collaborative game so students work together to beat the board. 

Here is a short video showing how to play:


Students solve problems as they move their Voyager ships through the board and get to the treasure before the Math Monster! 


5: Set

Photo of set, a math game of logic for really any age group

I love set. There are a bunch of ways to make a set from the cards, which really gets brains churning.

Examples of two "sets" in the math game Set

Here are examples of two sets. The left column is a set because all the cards have one purple shape that are shaded differently. The right column is a set because no characteristics of the shapes on each card match. 


6: Can You Make It?

Photo of the Can You Make It? Math Game from the Games 4 Learning blog

The game Can You Make It? is so cool. Students compete to make true number statements from any six single-digit numbers to equal any double-digit number. It always amazes me that this works out!


7: Prime Climb

I saw this game on Twitter a few months ago. The goal is to move your two game pieces through the spiral of prime numbers until your two pieces make it to 101. 


Here is a video made by Dan Finkel explaining how Prime Climb works. Definitely a lot of thinking and math involved with this one. 


8: 4 Numbers

Screenshot of the online game 4 Numbers

I wrote about 4 Numbers and linked to it in this blog post about math class hacks. 4 Numbers is totally addictive and nice because it is totally free and can be projected on the board, saving paper.

Like with Can You Make It? I'm always in awe that this game works out. I know there's some number theory in there somewhere. 


9: Mobi Math


I haven't played this game, but have seen it on social media a few times and every time have wanted to buy it. It reminds me of a Bananagrams for math.


10: Connect 4

No math games list would be complete without Connect 4. One of my Algebra classes was so addicted to Connect 4 they'd take the game out of the cabinet and start playing in the middle of class. 

Admittedly this was towards the beginning of my career, before I had decent classroom management. Still, kids love this game.

Photo of the knock-off Connect 4 game that broke when I tried t put it together

I've owned a few versions of Connect 4 throughout the years. The best was the one that fit back into the box even when assembled. This version here is a cheap knock-off that broke when I tried it put it together. (I'm still not over it:)

Update: My 5 year old noticed the photo on the box showed the wavy side of the vertical grid facing up. I had it upside down. Facepalm. Works great now and fits right back into the box!


11: 2048 from KenKen

Screenshot of the math game 2048 from KenKen

2048 from KenKen is a perfect game for students in 1:1 classrooms when they need a filler activity.

Use the arrow keys to combine pairs of numbers to grow tiles exponentially until 2 tiles combine to make 2048. How many combinations would that take?

Students can even take screenshots of their final 2048 as a way to earn extra credit.


12: KenKen

Photo of students playing the math game KenKen in their classroom

I wrote about KenKen puzzles in a previous post and linked the KenKen Classroom program, which sends free KenKen puzzles to your inbox weekly.

The puzzles that are sent for free each week are differentiated, ranging from 3x3 puzzles to 6x6 puzzles. They are great to photocopy and keep for times when students are finished early or need an extra challenge. 

Here is a video of KenKen champ Ellie Grueskin explaining how to play KenKen:



13: Qwirkle

This math game is super fun. It's almost like set crossed with crossword puzzles. Here is a photo of a game my daughter and I played. She is 5 and picked up on it pretty quickly.

The goal is to make rows and columns of either same shape or same color tiles. The tiles are made of painted wood and all pack up in a nice cloth bag. I really like this game. 

Amazing math games your students will love - this math game is called Qwirkle

As I come across more math games, I plan to expand this list. My husband now owns a game store and is also on the lookout. What math games do you love to play with students?

My friend Karrie from Mrs. E Teaches math also wrote a blog post on her favorite math games. Amazingly, the only game that repeats is Connect 4. It's a good one!





6 comments:

  1. Although it is true that SUM OF WHICH has been sold to a larger company, the sale is still in transition. Therefore there are still games available at sumofwhich.com at the present time. I am not sure how long this will be as when Didax takes over, I am done selling. AND, right now...they are all on sale!!!

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    1. Yay! Sales are always good! Especially on cool games! :)

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  2. Learn more about SUM OF WHICH and watch videos teaching you how to play the game as well as 4 more games you can play with the tiles at https://www.sumofwhich.com/videos--directions.html

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    1. Thank you for linking this video! And of course for making such an awesome game:)

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  3. We bought Colorku for our tweens and teens to play at the library after school and it has been a huge hit! Great for bringing kids together that wouldn't otherwise hang out. Also when a staff member gets it out and begins a game alone it always attracts the kids. Great game for your brain too. Less overwhelming than regular Sudoku.

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    1. Bringing kids together is always a win. Thank you so much for adding to the list. Now I need to check this one out.

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