We love games (as you well know) and math games are even better! Tired of the old Tic Tac Toe game? Mix it up with some number sense and turn it into Math Tic Tac Toe! This basic math game is perfect for the early grades when kids are working on adding more than two numbers. It helps children practice mental math skills, which are crucial for math success in school. Kids will also have to use basic strategy skills because in order to win you really have to plan ahead.
I played this game as a fun math activity with both my 10 year old and my 7 year old, and it’s a good math activity for after school. Of course my older son caught on very quickly but I coached my younger son along until he was able to trick me once or twice (I won’t say exactly how many times. I have a reputation to protect.)
What you need:
- One playing board with a 3 by 3 grid.
- 9 tokens, numbered 1 – 9, preferably in 2 different colors, but not strictly necessary. We snagged some game pieces from Skippity, but you could use coins, too.
(The number 9 is missing from the above photo! Oops.)
Players take turns placing tokens on a single square in an attempt to create a row in which the numbers on the tokens adds up to 15. If you are the first to complete a row, even if it contains two different colors, you win!
As you can see in the photo above, the bottom row of 1-9-5 totals 15. The remaining 7 could be played in the upper right square to create a column of 15 on the far right.
Alternate Math Tic Tac Toe Version:
Continue to play even after one person has completed a row of 15, which may result in a tie game.
Watch the video!
Tips for playing with kids:
With my younger son, I coached him on making sure he had checked the totals of all possible moves before he played his tokens. I also pointed out that he should notice whether or not I would be able to score off his move. The purpose of the game is to help your kids practice mental math skills and learn effective strategy techniques, not to trounce your 7 year old! Ha ha ha.
Super nerds can read about the explanation of how Tic Tac Toe works mathematically. (My eyes glazed over, to be honest.)
If you think you can handle more math game awesomeness, try these:
- Make ten math card game
- Drop Dead: Fun Dice Game (despite the name)
- Lu-lu dice game from Hawai’i
- Fractions card game
- Cooperative math dice games
- Our favorite math games
- Fiverton math game
See more of our favorite math games in action: