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Math Games With Playing Cards

Whether as part of a tutoring session or just for fun, try these five math games with your child – all you need is a deck of playing cards. (Note: face cards represent the following numbers: A=1, J=11, Q=12, and K=13).

Addition War

Deal the entire deck equally among the players. Each player places his stack face-down on the table. Players turn over two cards at a time and add the numbers. (Encourage kids to do mental addition rather than counting on their fingers.) The player with the highest sum takes all the cards that were played that round. Play proceeds until everyone runs out of cards in their face-down stack. Whoever has won the most cards wins the math games. (Note: This game can be easily adapted to Multiplication War, where the two numbers are multiplied rather than added, or Subtraction War, where one card is subtracted from the other and the player with the lowest number wins each round.)
Addition (or Subtraction) Speed
As in War, the deck is dealt completely. Each player places their stack face-down on the table. On the count of three, each player turns over the top card from their stack. The player who can add all the numbers and shout out the answer before anyone else wins the hand, and places the won cards in a face-up stack next to their face-down stack. Keep playing until everyone has run out of cards in their face-down stack. The player with the most cards wins the game.
Number Factory
Give each player a piece of notebook paper and a pencil. Remove face cards and 10s from the deck, deal four cards in the middle of the table, and set a timer. Each player has five minutes to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division (or a combination) to come up with as many different math problems and answers as possible. For example, if 4, 3, 2, and 9 are on the table, some possible answers could be: 4+3+2+9=18, (4-2)+(3+9)=14, and (4×2)+(9+3)=20. Students are awarded one point for each problem they create. When the time is up, whoever has come up with the most problems wins.
Biggest Number
First, remove all face cards and 10s from the deck. The dealer shuffles the deck and turns over three cards at a time. The player who can mentally rearrange the digits and call out the highest possible number first wins the hand. For older students, increase the challenge by dealing four, five, six, or more cards at a time. When the dealer has gone through the entire deck, whoever has won the most cards wins the game.
 Make Ten
Remove the face cards and 10s from the deck. Deal 16 cards face-up in rows of 4 in the middle of the table. Taking turns, each player has 10 seconds to pick up 2 cards that add up to 10. For example, a player could grab an 8 and a 2 or a 3 and a 7. Every time a player removes cards from the table, fill in the empty places with fresh cards from the deck. If a player cannot find an answer in less than 10 seconds, the next player goes. When the deck runs out, whoever has the most cards wins.
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