One game is called You Count It! If a student can’t remember the math fact, he can figure it out by counting the symbols on the playing cards. Kids will do this when they are playing a game. It’s a lot of fun for the child if the parent or an adult is one of the players.

Here are two variations of a game for learning math facts. The first variation can be used for addition. The second can be used for subtraction. Here’s how you play You Count It!

Materials needed for each pair of players: one or two decks of playing cards. A pencil and paper is used for keeping score. Fold the paper into two parts lengthwise (hot dog bun style) or draw a line down the middle. Write each person’s name or initials.

Beginner’s version addition-for two players. A score keeper can be added if you have three players.

Remove the jokers and face cards. Separate the cards into two piles. One pile contains the cards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The other pile contains 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Decide who will go first. Each person needs to shuffle his cards up. Then, square them up and have each person place his stack in front of him. At the same time, each person turns over the top card. The player who is taking his turn says the problem. Example: if the cards turned over were 8 and 5, the player would say, “8 plus 5 equals 13.” He would get two points. If he had said, “8 plus 5 equals 12,” he would be told to try again. Then if he would say, “8 plus 5 equals 13.” He would get one point. The player gets two chances to get the problem right. If the player misses it two times, the other player tells him the correct answer. Points are tallied on the paper. Play alternates between the players. Used cards are put back into the stacks. This allows the stacks to always be evolving. The game goes on until a player gets to 25 points. If kids want to play another round, cards are shuffled and squared up in front of them again.

Advanced version for addition: Separate the cards into two piles. One pile contains cards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The other pile contains 8, 9, 10, Jacks, Queens, and Kings. The Jack is a 10, the Queen is an 11, and the King is a 12. This is more advanced because players have lost the ability in the cases of the face cards to count the symbols on the cards. Except for this, play is the same.

Beginner’s version subtraction-for two players. A score keeper can be added if you have three players.

Remove the jokers and face cards. Separate the cards into two piles. One pile contains the cards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The other pile contains 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Decide who will go first. Each person needs to shuffle his cards up. Then, square them up and have each person place his stack in front of him. At the same time, each person turns over the top card. The player who is taking his turn says the problem. Example: if the cards turned over were 10 and 3, the player would say, “10 minus 3 equals 7.” He would get two points. If he had said, “10 minus 3 equals 6,” he would be told to try again. Then if he would say, “10 minus 3 equals 7.” He would get one point. Each player gets two chances to get it right. If the player misses it two times, the other player tells him the correct answer. Points are tallied on the paper. Play alternates between the players. Used cards are put back into the stacks. This allows the stacks to always be evolving. The game goes on until a player gets to 25 points. If kids want to play another round, cards are shuffled and squared up in front of them again.

Advanced version for subtraction: Separate the cards into two piles. One pile contains cards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The other pile contains 8, 9, 10, Jacks, Queens, and Kings. The Jack is a 10, the Queen is an 11, and the King is a 12. This is more advanced because players have lost the ability in the cases of the face cards to count the symbols on the cards. Except for this, play is the same.

Especially in the beginning, don’t play winners and losers. A student who loses a game learns not to enjoy it. The winner/loser game becomes one more way that the student can fail at math. It is far better to reward the student for the points earned. Negotiate this before the game. I usually have a grab bag with Jolly Ranchers, peppermints, bubblegum, erasers, pencils, and bookmarks. The best way to make up the grab bag is to ask the student what he wants.

Another important point is to have the players say the problem and answer as they make the play. This helps the student see the problem and hear the problem, as he works the problem out. This is crucial, since the game is used to teach the student math facts, so that he can compute with greater facility.

Students with Attention Deficit Disorder can function at a high level academically. Sometimes learning little tricks to aid the memory can help them to reach the stars.

Permission to copy these instructions and use them in a non-commercial private home or classroom setting is granted. Commercial use of this game or reprinting these instructions for publication without written permission is expressly forbidden.

*This book is highly recommended for students who have struggled with multiplication facts.*

Times Tables the Fun Way: Book for Kids: A Picture Method of Learning the Multiplication Facts

*This book teaches multiplication using patterns. Here is a powerful tool for students who have difficulty remembering facts by rote.*

Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables: Fast, Fun & Easy with Dazzling Patterns, Grids & Tricks!