Parent Help Desk: How to help your child at home
Showing interest and enjoying time together are the best ways to help your child achieve academic goals. A variety of traditional games are easily modified to support the learning of basic math facts, which are the foundation for future math success. Here are some ideas with a few twists on some old classics. All you need is a deck of cards!
(use addition, subtraction facts)
OLD MAID-Use a queen for the Old Maid and give one point for each doubles-fact your child can state when all the cards are paired up.
SLAP JACK-Players decide on an operation. (addition or subtraction) Then each player puts a card down and the first person to slap the pair and tell the answer gets the two cards.
WAR-Place one card down and play for the highest or lowest value card. OR Place two cards down and play for the highest answer to an addition, subtraction or multiplication fact.
SOLITAIRE-Remove the face cards from the deck and lay the cards out as in Solitaire. Look for number pairs that add up to 10 and move them to a pile at the top. Try to remove all the cards. (Use two decks and play against your child to add a little competition!)
MATCH THE FACTS-Use a deck of basic flashcards for addition or subtraction. Lay the cards out fact side up, in 5 rows with 4 cards in each row. On their turn a player picks up a pair of flashcards with the same sum or difference. New fact cards replace the empty spaces each round. Play continues until all the cards are matched. Players must recite their matches with answers at the end of the game.
Use any favorite game (Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Life, etc.) to incorporate basic fact practice. As part of each turn, flip a flash card or roll 2 dice to make a math fact. The player must answer correctly before they can move their marker on the game board.
Remember . . . Games solidify the achievements of children who are already good at math, and strengthen the children who need some extra help. MAKE IT SIMPLE and HAVE FUN!
To find the definition of a math word go to
To practice basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts go to
Game sites with activities to practice grade level math skills with simple lessons to support them.
Fun Activities by Grade Level: