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Knowing the basic maths facts helps enormously as children are introduced to more complex methods such as column addition and long multiplication. 

Again, these often require over-learning, so here are some ideas to practise the basic skills without a worksheet in sight.



For some ideas for learning the multiplication tables, see my blog post.   


Shut the Box

This game is great for practising number bonds.


To play this game, you roll two dice and add them up. You then turn down one, two or three numbers which have the same total as your dice roll. The aim is to close as many numbers as possible. 

You can easily play this game using a set of playing cards. Just lay down the numbers 1-9 face up, and then turn over the numbers. You can also extend the game by playing up to 12.


Doubling 4 in a row

You will need a 10 or 20 sided dice. 


The game boards can be found here


Roll the die, double the number and colour in your answer on the grid. 

First to 4 in a row wins. 

You can also find multiplication and division 4 in row boards here. 



Guess the Bond

The orange cards have the numbers 1 - 12 on one side, and on the other one of the possible number bonds. So for example you will have three orange cards featuring the number 6, then on the reverse one card will say 1+5, another will say 2+4 and another 3+3. 

For 11 and 12, only offer the options 10+1 and 10 + 2.

On the blue cards, write the numbers 1 - 13. 

Turn over a blue card (e.g. 6). You then predict which number bond option you might pick up for 6 (e.g. 1 + 5). If you are right, keep the card, if not, put it back.

Picking 2, 3, 11 or 12 is 'lucky' as there is only one option to choose! If you pick 13, that means miss a turn. 

Download a list of cards to create here. 

I used pictures of Numicon on the back as we have been learning with Numicon, but you could easily just write the numbers!


Sort the number bonds

Label cups from 1-10 or 1-20. 

On lolly sticks, write every possible addition calculation which can give each answer (list here).

I also write the reverse calculation on the back (e.g. 1+0 and 0+1)

Children have to sort the lolly sticks into the correct cups. They really enjoy this, will repeat it many times and it helps with over-learning the essential number bonds. 

You can also play this game with subtraction facts.


Tarsia Puzzles

This website allows you to download software to make your own Tarsia jigsaws, which you can populate with any number facts!

Children love these. 

You can find ready made Tarsia puzzles for the multiplication tables here. 




Roll a die and keep adding your total. The catch? If you roll a 'one' (a pig), you lose all of the points from that turn! 

This game is great, as children have to keep adding, and make decisions about when to stop based on probability. 

If you stop your turn before you roll a one, you get to keep those points and player two takes a turn. When player 2 either stops or rolls a one, player 1 takes another turn. Add up the points from each turn. Note: if you get 'PIG' on turn 2, you only lose points from that turn.  

Keep playing until one person has 50 points. 


  • Play to 100 points. 

  • Play with two dice- a single 'one' ends the turn and cancels points from that turn, but a double 'one' gives you 15 bonus points!

  • Play with two dice -multiply the numbers. If the product is odd, this ends your turn. 


Peg the number bond

Set up the cards as shown in the picture. 

Then, write the numbers 9 to 18 on pegs. 

Add the central number to the outside number, and peg on the answer. This really helps when looking for patterns. 


Guess my Number

Print out a grid containing the number range you are guessing from (e.g. 1-100). 

Think of a number, and then ask yes / no questions to try to work out what the number is.

By having the grid of numbers, you can cross out the numbers you have eliminated which helps to build understanding of the number system. 

You can make this more difficult by allowing only a few 'more than' or 'less than' questions.

Is it odd or even?

Is it a multiple of 5?

Is the tens digit higher than the units?

Is the sum of the digits less than 5?



Higher or Lower?

This game can be played with one, two or three dice depending upon the child's adding ability. 

Players start with 5 lives. 

Roll the dice and add. Then decide whether the next player has to get higher or lower than your score. If they don't, then they lose a life. They then decide for the next player until someone loses all of their lives. 

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