New to Playful Math? Start Here

Do you want your children to enjoy learning math? Teach them how to play!

After the troubles of recent years, it’s even more important for families to play together. So I’ve made the ebook version of Let’s Play Math Sampler: 10 Family-Favorite Games for Learning Math Through Play permanently free.

What a great way to introduce your child to the joy of learning!

With excerpts taken from my most popular books, the Let’s Play Math Sampler features ten kid-tested games covering math concepts from counting to prealgebra.

Pick up a copy today, and make math a playful family adventure.

Download Your FREE Copy

Or Shop Your Favorite Online Store
… or request a copy from your library or local bookshop.

“Math is so many things — beauty, structure, problem solving, communication, language, creativity — but here’s what I’ve learned as I’ve tried to help my children develop positive relationships with math: It All Begins With Play. Anything by Denise Gaskins is a fantastic place to start. These books are filled with the perfect combination of perspective and practicality.”

—Michele Johnson, Instagram post

Math War for Simultaneous Equations

Just updated my blog post Math Game: War with Special Decks to add a game I missed the first time around:

Math War is the most worksheety of all the math games I play with kids. But you can add a level of choice by playing the Trumps version.

Math War Trumps: Instead of playing for the highest sum, as in Julie’s original game, have each player draw 3 cards. The player whose turn it is first names “X” or “Y” as trump, then all players lay down a card. Highest trump value wins the skirmish.

Variation: Let the player naming trump also decide whether the highest or lowest value will win.

For more great math games, visit My Best (Free) Math Games for All Ages.

CREDITS: “Red playing cards” photo by José Pablo Iglesias via

Playful Math Carnival #154: The Math Journaling Edition

Welcome to the 154th edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.

Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing.

There’s so much playful math to enjoy!

By tradition, we start the carnival with a puzzle/activity in honor of our 154th edition. But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Try This Puzzle/Activity

Since 154 is a nonagonal number, I think you might enjoy visiting some of my old “Adventures of Alexandria Jones” posts about figurate numbers:

And then try this math journaling prompt: Build or draw your own nonagonal numbers — numbers built from 9-sided polygons.

How many nonagonal numbers can you find? What do you notice? Does it make you wonder?

Click here for all the mathy goodness!

Prealgebra & Geometry Games Now Available

Publication Day!

Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School hits the online bookstores today.

Check Your Favorite Store

You can prepare your children for high school math by playing with positive and negative integers, number properties, mixed operations, algebraic functions, coordinate geometry, and more. Prealgebra & Geometry features 41 kid-tested games, offering a variety of challenges for students in 4–9th grades and beyond.

A true understanding of mathematics requires more than the ability to memorize procedures. This book helps your children learn to think mathematically, giving them a strong foundation for future learning.

And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten all the math you learned in school. I’ve included plenty of definitions and explanations throughout the book. It’s like having a painless math refresher course as you play.

Continue reading Prealgebra & Geometry Games Now Available

More Math War with Special Decks

Just updated my blog post Math Game: War with Special Decks to add a couple of games I missed the first time around:


If you’d like more ways to play with math from preschool to high school, check out My Favorite Math Games.

CREDITS: “Red playing cards” photo by José Pablo Iglesias via

Playing Math with Michael and Nash

Michael and Nash have been creating and posting new math games with astonishing regularity throughout the pandemic. Their YouTube channel is a great resource for parents who want to play math with elementary-age children.

Today’s entry: Closest to Ten, a quick game for addition and subtraction fluency with a tiny bit of multiplication potential.

And here’s one of my favorites for older players: Factor Triangles, a card game for 2-digit multiplication.

Check out their channel, and have fun playing math with your kids!

Visit Michael and Nash on YouTube

More Math You Can Play — for Free

favorite-math-gamesThe Kickstarter is done, and today I’m kicking back and resting a bit. (And running into town for some errands, because life never stops.)

But even as I’m taking it easy around here, I know many of you are looking for ways to help your children learn to play with math.

So click the button below to go see all the games I’ve posted on my blog over the years. All free for your family’s use, and most of them don’t require anything more than a deck of cards or some paper and pencil.

My Favorite Math Games

So many great ways to play math with your kids. Have fun!

The Best Math Game Ever

The Substitution Game features low-floor, high-ceiling cooperative play that works with any age (or with a mixed-age group) — and you can use it while distance learning, too. It’s great for building algebraic thinking.

Excerpted from my new book, Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School. Look for it at your favorite online bookstore.

The Substitution Game

Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, integers, fractions, equivalence and substitution.

Players: any number (a cooperative game).

Equipment: whiteboard and markers (preferred) or pencil and paper to share. Calculator optional.

Continue reading The Best Math Game Ever

Math Game: Hit Me

I believe this was the first math game I ever invented. Of course, ideas are common currency, so I’m sure other math teachers thought of it before I did. But to me, it was original.

I’ve blogged about the game before, but here’s the updated version as it appears in my new book Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School — scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.

Hit Me

Math Concepts: integer addition, absolute value.

Players: two or more.

Equipment: playing cards (two decks may be needed for a large group).

Continue reading Math Game: Hit Me