If math is your student’s least favorite subject, everything from classes to homework to studying for quizzes and tests can be like pulling teeth.
But with an extra dose of creativity and fun, dread can turn to delight!
Like any challenging (and important) skill, mastering key math concepts takes practice; unfortunately, that can often look like a worksheet or some other list of tasks that feels more like a mental laundry list than a puzzle kids would be eager to solve.
This genre of practice can be necessary, don’t get me wrong, but if you could use a little help in giving math practice a makeover, we’ll need to step outside that box. The good news is: making math fun to learn for kids isn’t a mystery, and these ideas are simple to implement at home with elementary, middle, or high school students.
Here are 25 fun activities that will spice up your child’s learning routine, plus they’ll reap the benefits of “gamified” learning: increased motivation, engagement, and pure enjoyment of learning just for the sake of it.
More good news: reluctant and enthusiastic mathematicians alike will get a kick out of gamified learning. Take a look with your student, and pick out a few to try this week!
Fun Math Activities for Elementary and Middle School Students
1. Play Math Tic-Tac-Toe
This handy resource adapts the classic Tic-Tac-Toe game for a range of skills and grade levels. Best for elementary and middle school students, this activity can be a quick brain break or an all-out challenge with a prize at stake.
2. Try the Exponent Battle Card Game
As the website cleverly describes this game, it "raises math fun to a higher power”! Kids will enjoy playing against parents, siblings, or friends, and they’ll have an extra incentive to master the exponents they’ll need for science and math class.
3. Explore math with Minecraft
Yes, you read that correctly! Minecraft has an incredible math educator’s guide that’s guaranteed to intrigue young gamers who could use an extra incentive to bolster their math skills. Learn more about the incredible educational applications of Minecraft.
4. Tackle Fantasy Football Equations
Though football season may be over, this activity is a great one to stash away for the next draft. Algebraic equations can be challenging for many middle school students, and this sporting twist will not only make the practice more bearable, kids will get to see the (sometimes elusive) real-world application of what they’re learning.
And here is an expert tutorial if your student could use some extra help solving for x.
5. Roll Into a Subtraction Dice Game
This foundational skill becomes a lot more enjoyable in game form, and students will strengthen their mental math muscles as they play.
6. Slice Some Sandwich Fractions
Ideal for lunch time, kids will be extra-motivated to master proportions and fractions. Converting fractions into decimals, or vice versa? These tutorials will help your student convert the numbers in a trice.
7. Play Math Jeopardy
From averages to exponents to algebra, these pre-designed Jeopardy games will elevate study time and make review something to look forward to. Kids can compete with siblings or virtually with friends!
8. Pull Off an Order of Operations Heist
To crack the safe in this online game, students must correctly use the order of operations. Kids will need to know this to solve math problems, but as they master the skill, a reward like pulling off a heist is a useful motivator.
9. Have a Math Board Game Night
If you’re looking to revamp your family’s board game collection, why not infuse some fun with math? Proof!, Prime Climb, and Real World Math were each created by teachers and boast hundreds of rave reviews from parents.
10. Bring Math to the Grocery Store
Discounts, fractions, budgeting—there are so many mathematical applications when it comes to shopping for kids’ favorite foods. This activity can easily be done virtually through grocery delivery services or online shopping.
11. Battle in a Multiplication “War” Card Game
The game that has entertained kids for countless hours gets mathematical in this rapid fire edition of “War”.
12. Hit the Negative Number Piñata
Learning to add and subtract negative numbers can be tricky. So, to stave off student frustration, this game is a fun way to practice. Plus, this platform offers quick tutorial videos as well, just in case your student could use a refresher.
13. Chart a Graphed Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a great scavenger hunt? Not only would this make a great at-home (and outdoor) activity, kids will practice graphing coordinates and slopes in a hands-on way.
14. Shop for Algebraic Reasoning Sweets
A sweet introduction to algebraic thinking, this is one of many colorful games Math Playground offers. Players solve for the value of each candy in this online “sweet shop.”
15. Jump into Multiplication Hopscotch
Kinesthetic learning, or learning through movement, is a great way to increase students’ engagement (and energy levels). If your student is learning to memorize multiplication tables and could use a break from paper and pencil, take a break outdoors with some chalk, and get moving!
16. Place Value with LEGO
Young learners mastering place value will benefit from the visual and kinesthetic aspects of exploring the concept with LEGO. This activity will work with just about any LEGO set you have on hand.
Fun Math Activities for High School Students
17. Launch into Space with Math & NASA
STEM worlds collide in NASA’s math series! This website offers activities for algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus paired with the innermost workings of space exploration.
18. Explore Statistics with Real-World Scenarios
This probably sounds familiar: when will I need to know this in real life? This range of expertly-designed activities provides valuable connections to practical scenarios that will satisfy even the most skeptical students.
19. Dance With a Transversal Geometry Game
Think of this fun activity as the antidote to the geometry doldrums. Kids can pick a soundtrack (or use one of the pre-made options), clear the room, and dance their way to knowing all about transversals.
Fun Math Activities for all Ages
20. Embark on an Interdisciplinary Project
Connecting new (and potentially dull) subject matter to an area of students’ interest is a well-known best practice in education. This resource provides some excellent interdisciplinary projects that blend math skills with art, history, fascinating places around the world, and more.
21. Set Sail with a Quadratic Equation Shipwreck
If your student is just getting the hang of quadratic equations (or perhaps brushing up for a quiz), this game is a perfect way to practice.
22. Plan a Pi Day Extravaganza
Pi Day, March 14th, is just around the corner, so why not make it a celebration of this all-important number! Check out these elementary and middle school activities, fun games and puzzles for all ages, high school activities, and pi card race to make the day memorable and bring smiles back into the equation.
23. Solve a KenKen Puzzle
This game was called “the most addictive math game since Sudoku” by New York Times games editor, a winning testimonial if ever we’ve heard one. KenKen puzzles are a great way to practice mental math or do a warm up before tackling more complex problems.
24. Play Trigonometry Mini Golf
Upper middle school and high school students will enjoy seeing trigonometry in action in a familiar pastime and in other real-world applications of math concepts. Each activity is interactive and includes short videos and tutorials to give each game context.
25. Learn How to Locate People Lost at Sea
This investigation answers the question: how does the Coast Guard find and rescue those lost in the vast ocean? Turns out, statistical skills are key to these missions. Kids can learn about how they work and have another great answer to the question “why is math important”?
Have Fun with Math Today!
Let us know how your explorations turn out. Looking for a little extra help? iD Tech offers expert, online private math tutoring to help your student succeed and thrive in the classroom.