Simple, fun maths games for little ones

Simple fun maths games for early years

When trying to help little children learn to count and do simple maths, it is important to make it fun. Children learn best through play. Here are a few very easy but fun ways to get little children counting and adding/subtracting.

picture of a simple addition eggbox game

Egg box game

What you need:

  1. 1 egg box (6 or 12, depending on how difficult you want to make it)
  2. 1 pen
  3. 20 coins or beans
  4. 2 players

Before you start playing, you need to write a number in every hole of the egg box.

picture of the eggbox with numbers written inside

How to play:

  1. Divide the coins/beans between the two players
  2. Place the egg box a distance away from both players
  3. Take it in turns to throw 2 coins/beans into the egg box, youngest player first
  4. See what numbers the coins/beans land on, then the player who threw them has to add the two numbers together. If they get it right, they keep the coins/beans, if they get it wrong, they are given to the other player.
  5. If a coin/bean misses the egg box, they are given to the other player
  6. The person with the most coins/beans at the end is the winner

picture of a child playing the eggbox simple addition game

You can increase the numbers in the egg box as the children get better.

You can also use the game to teach subtraction the same way. Just subtracting the two numbers instead of adding.

You could also decorate the box nicely to make it more appealing to little ones.

BB loved this game, we played several rounds of it.

picture of a simple colouring addition game

Colouring addition

What you need:

  1. 1 pen
  2. Colouring pencils/pens
  3. Paper
  4. 1 or 2 dice

Before you play, you need to draw a simple picture in pen. I drew a large ice cream as that is very simple to draw, then divide the picture into 6 or 12 sections (depending on how many dice you are using). Number each section.

How to play

  1. Player 1 rolls the dice
  2. They then have to count the number on each dice and add the numbers together
  3. They then colour in the corresponding number on their picture
  4. Player 2 does the same
  5. Player 1 rolls the dice again and so on
  6. If they have already coloured in that corresponding number, play is passed to the next player
  7. The first player to colour in the whole picture wins

For younger players, you can use just one dice, and only 6 sections on the picture. This helps little ones with counting the dots on the dice and recognising their numbers, before learning to add.

picture of a child colouring in his colouring addition game

All three of my children enjoyed playing these games and we will be playing again.

Tuesday Tots

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18 Responses to Simple, fun maths games for little ones

  1. lauracymft says:

    Great ideas! Really simple games that help children to learn without them realising! These would be ideal for my daughter, thanks for linking up to Summer Play!

  2. Love these ideas – have pinned for future reference :)

  3. Mummy of Two says:

    Great ideas – I really need to work on my son’s maths skills so will give them a try!

    • karen bell says:

      Thanks, it really helped my son to grasp the concept of adding and he enjoyed it too x

  4. Fiona Martin says:

    Great ideas and love the hidden educational aspect. Definitely something to try with 5yr old Miss M.

  5. anna says:

    great ideas will have to try them, my oldest loves maths!

  6. spicers1976 says:

    great ideas, my 6yo loves her maths

  7. pinkoddy says:

    What fantastic ideas – we love making maths fun.
    Thank you for linking with Motivational Monday.

  8. amanda walsh says:

    fab ideas! will definitely give them a try

  9. oddlyactive says:

    I used to play a variation on this theme with my son… Rather than an egg box we used an old shoe box and cut arches of various sizes numbered 1 to 5 (1 being the largest/easiest, 5 being the smallest / hardest). We would share out a bag of marbles, then take turns at rolling three each for each ’round’. The one with the highest total for the round (which Ben, my son, was tasked with adding up) kept all the marbles. When he got into Hot Wheels cars – which were a weekly ‘good behaviour while shopping reward’ so he had TONS of them – we used those instead of marbles.

    Learning through play – always a winner!

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