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Eight Games that Promote Addition, Subtraction, and Counting

Eight board games that promote addition, subtraction, and counting

Six reasons why learning with board games is better than flash cards

1. Board Games are fun! Of course!

2. Your children will develop their math knowledge without even knowing.

3. They are more likely to find the interesting patterns that encompass mathematics.

4. Kids are more apt to play games than to flip through flash cards.

5. They will relate what they are learning in school to this very real world application.

6. Their competitive edge will give them the motivation they need to aim for mastery.

8 Games that promote Addition, Subtraction, and Counting

We made it easy for you, click on the game board pictures for a direct link to

1. Fish Stix: A strategy game in which players count and add to get their six fish tokens to the end of the board game. This game teaches addition facts from 0-10. Example: If one of the fish tokens is on number 2 and they have to move three spaces. It will help them reinforce that 2 and 3 is 5 without any flash cards. When this happens, ask what number sentence just happened? They should respond 2+3 = 5. 

board games learning addition
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2. Connect 4: With Connect 4 you can teach the doubles strategy for addition. When you’re playing this game point out 2+2 = 4, 4 +4 is 8, and 8+8 =16. You can also help your children by exposing them to see equal groups of four being repeated over and over, a precursor for multiplication.

goard games learn addition
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3. Sorry!: More than anything, Sorry! will help your child by gaining fluency with counting. To help them get that additional practice, ask them to move your pawn. 

board games learn counting
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4. Chutes and Ladders: Chutes and Ladders is a super fun game to teach counting. I love it because the game board is numbered, and it goes up to 100. With this, it will be easier for them to find the patterns involved within addition and subtraction. This means that it doesn’t matter at what number you are, if you have a 4 on the ones place (number on the farthest right) and you add 3, your ones sum will always be 7. Another example is: 

  • “Hey Johnny, when you were at six and added two you stopped at 8. Very similar to to mine. I was at 16, added two, and now I am on 18. Every time you add a 6 and a 2 you will end with an 8.”-Refer to this as a fact family and ask them if they notice any other fact families throughout the game.
board games learn addition subtraction
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5. Sum Swamp: This game is by a company I like called Learning Resources. Sum Swamp is made specifically to teach addition and subtraction. It even comes with an operation die! Kids move only after they have completed an addition or subtraction problem. It even reinforces the concept of 0, because if they get 5-5, they do not move from their current spot. 🙂 Fun times!

board games learn addition subtraction
Click here to buy on amazon!

6. Trouble: Trouble will help your child with counting every-time they move spaces. If you ask them to find out the total number of spaces they need to go all away around the board, and subtract the number of spaces the die dictates, it will help reinforce the concept of subtraction. Subtraction is a “total” that gets a part or parts taken away.

board games learn counting
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7. Hungry Hungry Hippos: This fun paced classic is a must for players ages 4 and up. The game provides you with 20 marbles. The hippo that eats the most marbles is the winner. When playing this at home with your kids ask them to create the different number sentences that add up to 20, or ask them, “if mommy got 10 marbles, what are the possible combinations of numbers for the remaining three players?” Possible answers can be, “I know I have 5 so daddy can have 3 and sister might have two, because 10 + 5 is 15, 15 +3 is 18, and 18 +2 is 20.”

Board games learn counting addition subtraction
Click here to buy on amazon!

8. Pay Day: This game is best suitable for children that have more of a solid foundation with addition and subtraction, so if throughout this article you felt that your child was past the games above, Pay Day might just add that extra challenge. This game will require them to add and subtract within the thousands. Throughout this game point out the power of zero, and how as long as you know your basic facts, the math should be easy to solve. 

learn addition board games
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Happy learning and bonding time while your kids are at home!

-The Stay At Home Kids Team



By Stay at Home Kids

I am a mom and an education specialist looking to make our kids’ time at home meaningful and useful with engaging activities that are easy for you to implement.

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