Not all of us a bursting with creative game ideas, but there are
several ways to go about creating a game that will assist even the
busiest and most reluctant game designer.
In this article for teachers, Liz Woodham describes the criteria she uses to choose mathematical games for the classroom and shares some examples from NRICH.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
This article supplies teachers with information that may be useful in better understanding the nature of games and their role in teaching and learning mathematics.
This article, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
Basic strategy games are particularly suitable as starting points
for investigations. Players instinctively try to discover a winning
strategy, and usually the best way to do this is to analyse. . . .
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
An ordinary set of dominoes can be laid out as a 7 by 4 magic rectangle in which all the spots in all the columns add to 24, while those in the rows add to 42. Try it! Now try the magic square...
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A train building game for 2 players.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A game for 2 players. Take turns to place a counter so that it occupies one of the lowest possible positions in the grid. The first player to complete a line of 4 wins.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
A game that tests your understanding of remainders.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Throw the dice and decide whether to double or halve the number. Will you be the first to reach the target?
A game for 2 people using a pack of cards Turn over 2 cards and try
to make an odd number or a multiple of 3.
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
Match the halves.
A game for two or more players that uses a knowledge of measuring
tools. Spin the spinner and identify which jobs can be done with
the measuring tool shown.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
This is a game for 2 players. Each player has 4 counters each, and
wins by blocking their opponent's counters. A good follow-on from
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
The game uses a 3x3 square board. 2 players take turns to play,
either placing a red on an empty square, or changing a red to
orange, or orange to green. The player who forms 3 of 1 colour in a
line. . . .
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
A game for 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
Factors and Multiples game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you win this game?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
First Connect Three game for an adult and child. Use the dice numbers and either addition or subtraction to get three numbers in a straight line.
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?