Using Math Games for Centers is one of the best ways to reinforce the math skills you are teaching in class. Nothing engages students more than being able to play a game with a partner or small group during center time. I also use math games during centers to help reinforce previously learned concepts and number sense.

Today we will focus on the many different math games for centers that work well for second grade, third grade, and fourth grade. Many of these could be adapted for first grade or for older grades as well.

## Math Games with Dice

**Roll It, Mark It**

Roll It, Mark It is a great center game for practicing skills such as multiple digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students will get a game sheet and work individually or with a partner to play this math game during centers. Students will roll one die and pick one of the problems to solve based off of the number they rolled. Then, they will search for the answer on the bingo board and mark it off. The goal is to get 5 in a row across, down, or diagonal.

**Dice War**

Dice war is another really fun and easy center game. Students play in partners. Each student has 2 dice. They will roll their dice and either add, subtract, or multiply (depending on the grade level and skill you want them to work on.) Then, whoever has the highest product gets a point. First person to 10 points wins. Or, have them add up their products and the first person to get to 100 wins.

**Area and Perimeter Boxes**

I love using dice to reinforce area and/or perimeter. This game can be played with a partner or individually. Students will roll 2 dice and then draw a box using the numbers rolled. The goal is to fill up the sheet with boxes. When they get towards the end, it will be harder to roll the correct numbers to fit in the space they have left. A great add on to this game is to have them solve the area after drawing the box’s perimeter and put that number inside the box.

**Race to 100**

Race to 100 is a super easy and free math center game for partners. (It also works fine with small groups.) Students will roll 2 dice and then either add, subtract, or multiply the numbers based on the skill you want them to practice. They will write down the product and then add up their products as they go to try to reach 100 first. To add a little more fun, you can add a rule that they have to reach 100 exactly (so if their final score was 102, they would have to not count the last product and keep rolling until they got a number that allowed them to reach 100 exactly.) You can also change the goal number if you are multiplying to be Race to 500 or 1000 depending on how long you want them to play.

## Using Cards for Math Centers

**Place Value War**

Place Value War is a fun and low prep center game for partners or trios. Cards will be shuffled and placed in a pile face down. Students will each draw 2 cards and then either add, subtract, or multiply depending on the math skill you are working on. (Or differentiate the skill based on the groups.) Whoever has the highest product gets all the cards used in that round. The player with the most cards at the end wins. You can play this game with number cards or if you play with a regular deck of cards, pull out the face cards or make a rule that the face cards are all worth 10.

**Multiply Race to Win**

Race to Win is a fun partner game. Students will use a deck of cards. You can either use a 1-10 card deck or use a regular card deck and make the rule that face cards are worth 10 and aces are worth 1. Students take turns drawing 2 cards and multiplying the numbers. They will then search for the product in their column. If they have it, they get to cross it off. If they don’t have that number (or already crossed it off) then they forfeit their turn. The first player to cross off all of their squares wins.

**Go Fish**

This is a fun twist on normal go fish for math centers. Players will ask for the number they need using an equation. For example, if they are looking for a 6, they could ask do you have 4+2 or do you have 7-1? The goal is to get pairs of numbers so if the player ended up with 2 6’s they would put that pair down. The player with the most pairs at the end of the game wins. If you play with a normal deck of cards, take out the face cards and make sure students know that aces are worth 1. I prefer to play this game with a deck of go fish cards or with a number deck for simplicity.

## Board Games

Board games are always a fun math center idea. They can be played individually, with a partner, or in a small group. The following math board games are all played with the same rules. Students will take turns spinning. Then they will move that many spaces. If they solve the problem correctly, they stay on that space. If they get it wrong, they have to go back 1 space.

## Games Around the Room

Allowing students to move around the room can be a great break in their day. I love doing solve the room style games during my math block or my math center time. To do these you will put up problems around the room and students will work individually or in pairs to solve the problems. I like to have an answer sheet on a clipboard so students can check their answers with me as they go. If they get one wrong, they have to go back and rework the problem.

Here is a set of multi-digit addition and subtraction word problems that I have used in my class as well as an answer sheet for students to use.

## Math Games for Partners During Centers

**Connect Four **

This is a great game that students can play individually or in partners. I have all different options with these including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The goal for students is to get 4 in a row.

**Math Builder **

The concept of this game is similar to hang man. The first student will pick a problem – for example 28+68=96. The second student will guess numbers between 0-9. If they guess a number that is not in the equation, then they have to fill in a line on the division sign. The goal is to guess the equation before they complete the lines on the division sign.

## Whole Group Math Games

**Bingo **

Bingo is always a class favorite. One of my favorite bingo options is this Subitizing Bingo Game. I us a 10 sided dice (or a random number generator online) and call out numbers between 0 – 10. There are multiple options for the same number on each card but students can only choose one to cross off at a time. When a student gets 5 in a row across, down, or diagonally, they call out bingo and are the winner. This is a great game to use during the first few weeks of school as students are getting back into their math mindsets and needing a refresh on their number sense.

**Bacon**

This game was taught to me by another teacher and is a great whole group game that students beg to play. Have students get a blank sheet of paper and turn it sideways. They will make 5 columns and write the letters B-A-C-O-N (one letter for each column.)

The way the math game works is that you roll 2 dice and either add, subtract, or multiply the numbers depending on what skill you are working on – set one option and tell students at the start of the game. (You could also do 4 dice to get multi-digit numbers.)

To play, all students stand up. The dice is rolled and students will all write down the sum of the equations under their B column. After each dice roll/writing the sum students choose whether to stay in the game or go out for the rest of the column. (If they choose to go out, have them sit down.) They cannot come back into the game until the next column. Each sum is added to the last to get a grand total for the column. The goal is to get as many points per column as possible before a 1 comes up on the dice.

If a 1 is rolled the column is done. Anyone who had already gone out gets to keep however many points they had when they went out. If there are students who were still playing they loose all of the points for this column.

You play this 5 times – one round for each column. At the start of each column all students are back in the game and should stand up until they decide to go out or until a 1 is rolled.

The winner of the game is whoever has the most points at the end of all 5 columns.

## Math Games for Centers

Using games to teach and reinforce math skills is always a win! Your students will look forward to center time when they know that they get to play games and sharpen their math skills along the way.