Fun Card Games that Teach Mental Maths

Card games are ideal for teaching mental maths skills in a fun and interactive way. 

Through card games younger kids can learn to identify and sequence numbers while older children get a chance to practice addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. 

Here are five card games children will enjoy.  

Builders Paradise

Goal: To be the first player with no cards. This game helps kids learn to order numbers. 

Instructions:  Remove all face cards from the deck and place the 4 sevens side by side on the table. Deal the remaining cards evenly to the players. Players must place the next highest cards and next lowest cards in their hand above or below the sevens according to the suit. In the first round, players will get rid of their sixes and eights. The person who is first to get rid of all their cards is the winner. If it reaches a point where no one can play a card, the person with fewest cards is the winner. 


Goal:  The player whose hand adds up closest to 21 without going over this number is the winner. This game teaches kids to add quickly in their heads.

Instructions:  Deal each player two cards to begin. Each player can choose to take another card to improve their hand, however if the combined values exceed 21 they get no points. The player who is closest to 21 in each round gets one point. In cases of a tie, all players with the same score get one point. A player who gets 21 with their first two cards receives two points. The first person to reach 10 points wins. 

Nifty 50 

Goal: To come up with an equation with an answer closest to 50. This game is excellent for developing problem solving skills. 

Instructions:  Deal all the cards. Each player must turn over four cards to make a plus or minus equation (two digits plus two digits, or two digits minus two digits). Aces are worth one point, while 10s and face cards are worth zero. The player whose answer is closest to 50 wins one point. An equation equalling exactly 50 is worth two points. If players have the same closest answer, no one wins a point. The first player to get five points is the winner. 


Goal:  To get an answer of 24 using four cards to create an equation.

Instructions:  Remove all face cards. Deal four cards to each player face down. Players turn over their cards at the same time and use up to three maths operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to come up with an equation with an answer of 24. Parentheses can be used once. Aces are worth one point. The first person to get an answer of 24 wins a point. No points are awarded if no one gets 24. The first player to reach five points is the winner. 

Fraction War  

Goal:  To have the largest fraction. This is an ideal way to teach students about comparing fractions. 

Instructions:  Deal two cards to each player to be used as a numerator and denominator. A pencil is used as a fraction line. Players place one of their cards face down above the line and one below, turning them over at the same time. The player with the largest fraction wins. The winner takes all four cards and play continues until there are no cards left. If players have equivalent fractions, they draw two new cards each and the winner takes all the cards. The player with the most cards at the end is the victor. 

Card games are a great way to keep kid’s minds active in the holidays. Find more card games for kids here.   Contact us and schedule a class with one of our private math tutors near you.