Fun Math Games and Activities to Memorize Math Facts without Flash Cards

Memorizing those basic math facts is so important to a child's long-term math success in school and beyond.  While it seems like such a simple task--parents often find that children just simply hate the boring memorization process of those addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts!

Complicating matters further is the ever-changing curriculum expectations within schools.  My oldest daughter was not "tested" over basic math facts.  The teachers at her school were in favor of repetitious learning, number lines, and limited memorization testing.  Therefore, since she wasn't tested (nor really forced to study those facts), she did not memorize her basic facts--and, then, struggled with those basics as she attempted to move through upper level math classes.  My middle and youngest daughters were tested on math facts--and memorized their facts--but, hated every minute of flash cards and rote memorization. 

So--rather than constantly break out the dreaded flash cards which were "so 1981"--I got a little more creative and sought out fun math games and activities to help them learn their basic facts instead!  What are some of my favorite math games and learning activities to memorize math facts without flash cards?

Minute Math

Why I like this math game for teaching math facts?  It's electronic--so the kids see it as more of a video game or app than as a basic math fact "tester".  The game supports addition, subtraction, multiplication and division--as well as some early algebra skills. The game encourages rapid recall.  If your child's school uses the old "timed math fact tests" that parents had as kids--they need to learn to memorize and relay the answers quickly.  

My dislikes about the game?  It is electronic. (I know--that was also one my "likes"!) Sometimes, I want the kids to take a break from talking, beeping, electronic gadgets--especially during the summer months!  If you do use this game--make it a family game!

Math Mat Challenge Game

Why I like this math game for teaching math facts?  This game gets the kids up, moving--and learning!  It's easy to pack this up and take it to the park or to the back yard or on a roadtrip.  The game also allows for a learning progression by speeding up the questions as responses become quicker.

My dislikes about the game? The placement of the numbers (and the reset button) are a little close on the mat for younger, less coordinated players.  Occasionally, the girls would reset it during an attempted jump to the correct answer. Sometimes they would just simply step on two answers at once and an incorrect answer would record first.  I'd recommend no shoes for the game--and encouraging the kids to land on their toes!

Sum Swamp 

Why I like this math game for teaching math facts?  This is my absolute favorite game EVER for teaching little ones basic addition and subtraction.  It's a straight up, board game--so there is no timer.  No stress.  Just addition and subtraction from the start to the finish.  It reminds me of Candy Land...but, for math.  Simple.  Basic.  Board game fun for families.

My Dislikes about the game?  You will only use it for addition and subtraction--so it has a short "lifespan" with today's elementary students!  (But--you can start this one in preschool and be ahead of the game!) Remember--No timers.  No stress.  Use fingers, number lines, counting devices...then bring the facts to it's really one of my favorites!!

The Learning Journey Match It! Memory, Mathematics 

Why I like this math game for teaching math facts? It's sturdy for little hands, it's not electronic, and it's another no-timer, no stress, math fact, teaching game!  While it's marketed as a math game--it also helps with memory and recognition--so I love this game for multiple reasons as a mom.    
My Dislikes about the game? I wish it had multiplication and division so that I could use it longer than a few months..but, in reality...nothing prevented me from using those sturdy game pieces, some paper, and some tape to turn it into a multiplication/division game in my spare time!

 Yahtzee Classic
Why I like this math game for teaching math facts?  This game lets families compete--and learn to add, multiply--and become strategists!  The game is suitable for ages 8 and up.  The more you play--the better the family will grow in addition/multiplication and strategy skills!  Even if it takes your younger children (what seems like) days to add up their rolls or their final scores--the practice will help them immensely with math.  This is a game that the adults and kids can play together as a family.

My Dislikes about the game?  The game is probably suitable (truly) for ages 8 and up.  So it won't help the younger kiddos with addition--unless you team them up with an older sibling or a parent. Though--by age 8, it's acceptable for the kids to be working on multiplication skills and more complex thinking activities.  
 I Sea 10

Why I like this math game for teaching math facts?   This is a super easy, basic, early learning addition game for younger students.  It's great to help kids build that "quick recall" for basic facts.

My Dislikes about the game? This is just an addition practice game--but, it is great for preschool and very early learners!

These are only a few of my tried and true math learning activities and games for teaching and reinforcing math facts in our kids!   I know that there are thousands of online games, smartphone apps, and books--but, I've found that my girls have always been more engaged in competitive, board game play with parents and/or older siblings.  

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