• Heather Minielly

Addition and Subtraction Games - Grades 1 - 3

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Doubles Memory Match

Use your memory to find and collect pairs of numbers. Score points equal to the value of each pair you collect. The player with the highest point count once all pairs are uncovered wins the game.

Set Up:

From a deck of playing cards, remove all the cards except the red heart and black spade cards, numbered 1-10. This will create a deck of ten pairs of cards from 1-10.

Shuffle the cards and place them face down in a grid.

How to Play:

Players take turns flipping over two cards, one card at a time. If a player finds a matching pair, they remove the cards from the table. They earn points equal to the total value of the two cards in the pair. In the example below, the player found a pair of nines. So they earn 18 points.

If the cards don't match, the player turns them face down and the next player takes their turn. Keep track of points earned each turn on a score sheet.

When all the pairs have been found, let your child use a calculator to find each player's total score. The player with the higher score wins.

Before calculating each player’s total, ask your child to look at both sets of scores and try to predict who is going to win and why.

Super Power Doubles Match

Play just like Doubles Memory Match but now the cards have superpower values!

A 2 is worth 2 tens or twenty. A 3 is worth 3 tens or 30 and so on.

Consider starting with the pairs 1 - 5. As your child is ready, add higher numbers in this order: 10, 6, 7, 8, 9,


Roll the dice to collect points. Decide whether to keep your points or roll again and risk getting skunked! First player to reach a target score wins the game.

You will need

  • 3 dice

  • a place to keep track scores

How to Play:

On a player’s turn they roll all 3 dice.

Rolling a 1 or a 5 earns points as follows:

1 = 10 points

5 = 5 points

It also means you have the option to continue rolling and earn more points.

You can stop rolling anytime, end your turn and protect the points you have earned on that turn.


If you keep rolling and no ones or fives turn up, you are skunked! This means your turn is over and you score zero for that turn.

In the image above, the player chose to keep rolling after roll #1 and got skunked. If this player had ended their turn after roll 1, they would have kept the 15 points.

Decide what the target score for your game will be. You might want to start with 100 for your first game. At the end of each turn, add any new points to a tally chart to keep track of your running score. Points earned cannot be lost once a player banks them.

Bank Robbery

Flip up cards to see which player has the bigger number. Player with the highest card takes the difference between the two cards from the other player's bank.

When one player’s bank empties out the game is over.

Set Up:

  • Gather 50 pennies, poker chips, macaroni shells, or other small items. Give each player 25 items. This is their ‘bank’.

  • Remove the jokers and face cards from a set of cards.

  • Deal out the cards so that each player has half the deck.

  • Players place their card piles face down in front of them.

A note about using playing cards: If you haven't played number games using commercial playing cards before, take a moment to help your child understand what the images on the card represent. The number of images on a card might be confusing to your child because there are two extra small images on every card. For example, on the 7 of spades in the image below, there are actually 9 spades. Help your child understand that the large symbols represent the number shown and that the smaller ones are just for decoration.

How to play:

Each player flips over their top card.

Together, the players determine who has the bigger number and how much bigger it is. E.g. 7 is 3 more than 4

The player with the bigger number gets to to take items from the other player’s bank equal to the difference between the two numbers.

Discard both cards and take another turn. When players are out of cards, shuffle the discard pile and deal it out again. Or, you can choose to end the game after you go through the deck once. If you choose this option, the winner is the player with the most items

in the bank at that time.


Players turn up two cards each and find the sum of their two cards.

Together the players figure out the difference between the two sums. The player with the bigger sum takes items equal to the difference from the other player's bank.

Have fun playing and learning with your child!!


Lawson, A. (2015). What to Look For: Understanding and Developing Student Thinking in Early Numeracy. Pearson Canada.

Fosnot, C., & Dolk, M. (2001). Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Number Sense, Addition and Subtraction. Heinemann.

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