Resource of the week: Maths Game of Strategy:

The importance of playing games with children to aid their mathematical thinking cannot be stressed too much. Playing games improves logical thinking and thinking ahead. This great little game, which I have called ‘Three Hexagon’ is a variation of ‘Three in a row’ games, played on a hexagonal board. All you need to do is print the board out, perhaps cover it with sticky back plastic to make it last longer and get two sets of 3 counters.

The rules are straightforward:

This is a game for two people.
Each player has three counters.
The aim of the game is to get the three counters in a straight line.
The player going first places a counter on one of the circles.
The second player then places one of his/her counters on a circle. This continues until all the counters have been placed.
If neither player has got 3 counters in a straight line then the first player slides a counter along a line to a circle that is not already covered.
The other player then slides a counter to an adjacent circle.  Counters can only move along one line into an empty space. They can not jump over counters.
If a player can not move a counter she/he misses a go.

The more you play this game the more you realise that there are techniques to help with winning. Good luck!

Three hexagon game

Calculator game: 9x table

It is important that children become familiar with calculators as they will be using them more and more as they progress through High School. There are many skills to learn and in this activity it is certainly a great help to be able to work out mentally division calculations. as the calculator will only confirm or otherwise your calculation.

This is the final game in our calculator series looking at tables and multiples. Once again the idea of the game is to get four counters in a row, this time on a multiples of 9 grid. Recognising multiples of 9 is relatively easy as the digits always add up to 9 or a multiple of 9. But knowing exactly which multiple is needed is much harder. Why not challenge your children?!!

Multiples of 9 calculator game

Maths Board Game: Deadly red

Board games are a great way to improve logical thinking and maths concepts. This is a favourite of mine, which I call Deadly Red as the person who takes the red counter at the end loses!

Not a lot of equipment is needed, just:

12 coloured counters, one red counter and a playing board.

The rules of the game are straightforward:

This is a game for two people, but could be played by three.

Place a red counter on the middle dot and the 12 black counters on all the other dots.

The player going first takes away any number of counters – but they must all be from a straight line.

Then the second player has his/her turn.

The player who takes the red counter loses.

On the next page you will find a board which can be printed out onto card. It is a good idea to cut out and either laminate or ‘sticky back’ this board.

Alternative rules:

1.The player taking the last counter (red) is the winner.

It might appear at first that it is luck as to who wins, but with after playing a few times you might be able to work out a few strategies which will ensure you win most of the time.

Deadly red

Maths Game: Pig

This is a maths game more suited to upper primary school children as it requires quick mental arithmetic skills. The idea is to roll the die as many times as possible adding up the score as you go alon; but there is a catch!


A die

A scoring sheet is useful


This is a game for two or more people, although usually played in pairs. It is good practice for addition skills up to 50, especially adding three or more small numbers.

The first player rolls the die as many times as he/she likes, adding up the total as he/she goes.

If, however, a 1 is thrown, all the score for that round is lost.

The player may stop at any time and put his/her score in the bank – that banked score cannot be lost.

When a score has been banked the die is passed to the next player who has his/her turn.

The winner is the first player to reach 50 or more.

Options: raise the winning score to 100 or more.

Use a 0-9 die with two losing options.


Counting maths activity for young children

This week we highlight a simple a little counting game suitable for young children. Ted just loves to watch football on the TV and when he is older he will be allowed to go and see his favourite team play. I wonder who his favourite team is? I bet it is the same as yours!


Counting games for Year 1

Whilst most of the mathsblog site gives away free worksheets I do have a small selection of fun maths games for reception/Year 1 children. Counting is a major part of maths iat this age and by the end of reception should be able to say and use number names up to 10. A good example of this would be to join in nursery rhymes or songs such as

“One, two three, four, five. Once I caught a fish alive.”

Children should also  be counting up in ones, up to 10 objects. This would be in a practical sense of counting a number of objects that they can touch (pieces of a jigsaw, coins, hats etc).  Later they can count things they can see, but not touch (panes in a window, cows in a field etc ).They can then begin to count down from a small number e.g. 5,4,3,2,1,0.

We have a great set of fun maths games on counting for Reception/Early Years and one of my particular favourites is the Counting Goats game. This is really good practice at counting up to 5. Young children can not get too much practice with this both in the home and on the computer. They may well use their fingers to help and count out loud, but after a time they will begin to count in their heads. Adults can often glimpse at a picture to see how many there are, almost without counting – don’t expect this of 5 a year old! Don’t forget to click on the banjo playing goat at the end for a happy tune!

We have a great set of counting games, so why not have a go today?

Go to our Counting games

If you like these games why not have a free trial of, which has many, many more?

Calculator words (upside down)

As the summer term comes to an end why not have some more fun with a calculator. I expect most children have worked out the certain combinations of letters will form words when the calculator is turned upside down and this page looks a little more closely at this.

For example: 0.7734 will greet you with the word ‘hello’, albeit in a slightly odd font, but perfectly readable.

There follows 5 calculations which give words.

Once children have worked out which letters can be converted into words then there is a tremendous range of words that can be created. The second page suggests just a few of them.

One good idea is to let children find the number that makes a word and then make a clue up , in a similar way to the worksheet. This will involve plenty of excellent practice at working with numbers.

Calculator words

Resource of the Week: Year 6 maths challenge

Here is a tricky little puzzle which is aimed at Year 6 or upper juniors (9/11). Ideal for wet breaks!

Using just the digits 1 to 9 complete the number sentences, both across and down, so that they are all correct.

A good knowledge of tables is needed, together with the ability to add and subtract mentally.

The hardest part of this puzzle is getting started and the best approach is to use trial and improvement by picking one row or column which can only have a limited number of possibilities. This might well not be the first row across or column down.

Looking at this particular puzzle the first row is a x b – c = 34. Start by looking at combinations of numbers that when multiplied make more than 34 (but not more than 43 as the maximum to subtract is 9) and then see which number can be subtracted to leave 34.

An important note on this: all calculations are done in the order shown: Bodmas does not apply.

One to nine (1a)

Maths game for reception: Make 5

An often overlooked part of our site is the maths games category for Reception/Year 1. Here we have a number of simple maths games including this, the first in our addition and subtraction series, where children are given a number and have to state what is needed to make it up to 5. Ideal for a quick few minutes adding on practice. A simple print out is available after 5 questions, which is useful to show what has been done.

You can go to Reception/Year 1 maths games to play all our games.

Dora Dino has 5 eggs somewhere. She can only see some of them, so can you help her work out how many are needed to make 5.


Maths puzzle: Year 4 Handling data wordsnake

The Primary Framework for Mathematics has given each year group a set of mathematical words that they should know. This word snake contains words from the data handling section of year 4. There are only 8 of them but every letter in the grid is used once.

The words can be found by moving across or up and down (but not diagonally). The next word follows on directly from the first.

The first word (survey) is given to you so that you can get the idea. The first letter of next two words is also given, then you are left to find them with no help.

This is not easy: try it yourself. A great way to use some of the necessary language in a fun way.

This page can be found in our Maths Puzzles category.

Maths puzzles: Wordsnake year 4 data handling