Math Card Games: An Alternative to Traditional Homework

Here is another type of math homework using math games.Last winter, my daughter’s third grade teacher sent us a different kind of homework. It took us hours. And we loved it!

Surprised? So were we. Sharon Carino, who told us about grant writing here, wrote another successful Donor’s Choose grant this year for math card games. Once she purchased the games, she sent them home to different families each night. The homework assignment? A family game night!

Upon seeing a picture I posted on Facebook of all of us—including the dog—playing one of the games, Mrs. Carino said, “This is exactly the vision I had when I bought these games!”

As a teacher-mom, this idea so rocked. My kids were engaged, we all learned something, and we weren’t bogged down by mountains of work that sidelined any type of family time we could have. If you like this idea for your own family or your classroom, I’ve included affiliate links to the products we’ve used so you can try them out. You don’t pay more if you purchase through one of these links, but I may make a small commission.


Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception

This game is flat-out hard if you are as spatially challenged as we are in this house. This was the perfect math card game for my daughter because it helped us work on some of those spatial deficits. Set is positively addictive. This one took us hours because we’d finish a round, then say, “One more game and then we’re done.”

Three hours later, dinner dishes still sat in the sink, and we’d blown our bedtime. We’d become completely absorbed in dealing the cards and trying to find three sets of figures in the group that were either all alike in shape, color, and fill or all different. Who ever thought one deck of cards could leave a brain so happily tired? The Easter Bunny brought us our own Set game because we’d grown so obsessed with it.


7 Ate 9 is an awesome math game for kids.

PlayMonster: 7 Ate 9 Number Crunchin’

Our daughter brought this math card game home for homework as well. In order to win this game, players try to get rid of all the cards in their hand by matching numbers from their hand to the card revealed in the center. In order to do this, players have to know their addition and subtraction math facts by heart. If they haven’t memorized them yet, this game just might provide the inspiration. We loved this one. Another bed-time blown!






Zap is a great math game for kids

Zap Addition

This is not one of the math card games my daughter’s teacher sent home. I chose this one for my Kindergartener because 7 Ate 9 was a little tough for him. We’ve had a blast practicing addition with this one. My son only melted down once when he pulled the Zap card and lost. So sportsmanship is a biggie here, too.








Zoom Multiplication is a great math game for kidsZoom Multiplication

Zoom Multiplication was not included either, but I liked Zap so much that I’ve decided to pick up Zoom. Both Zap and Zoom possess a huge element of chance and strategy, so it’s not a given that you’ll win just because you know your facts.







Math card games turn homework into a fun family game night.So parents, what would your favorite learning games be for “alternative homework? Teachers would you consider trying this? Have you already given homework with a twist? Do you use math card games in your classroom? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and let’s discuss!








These math task cards are another way to practice problem solving with your kids. Grab these in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.













Math card games can turn homework into family game night!

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