Here is a list of the top five numeracy lesson starters for teachers and parents to use with children. These activities and games require minimal equipment and are extremely fun and easy to play. The games can be used at the start, middle or end of a lesson. The students will often learn more and be more engaged due to the fun and competitive nature of these activities.

Shazam

Equipment: Deck of cards with all picture cards removed

Description: This game is best played in groups of four. All cards are face value with aces being worth one. The first student lays out four cards face up. The students have to find a combination of numbers equaling 12 and promptly call out “Shazam”. The winning student takes all the cards in the combination plus any cards in the underneath pile. All four number operations may be used. If someone calls “Shazam” incorrectly and is challenged, that student forfeits all cards to the challenging student. The student who has the most cards when the deck is finished wins.

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Silent Count

Equipment: None

Description: Silent Count can be played anywhere. The aim of the game is to count to 20 or however many students you have in the class. The only rule is, each student can only say one number once. If two students say the same number at the same time then you start again, or if numbers are repeated, you start again. Students are not allowed to point or prompt other students if they haven’t had a go. This game is to be played in silence and can be fun and also quite challenging.

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Guessing Game

Equipment: None

Description: Pick one student to whisper a two-digit number to the teacher. The students have to sit quietly and raise their hand to be called on to ask questions about the number. They can only be yes/no questions. “Is it even?” “Is it higher than 60?” “Is the number found when you count by fours?”, etc. The winner is the student who guesses the correct number. They choose the next number.

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Master the Deck

Equipment: Deck of cards

Description: Use a deck of playing cards for a game of Multiplication War. Flip over the cards as though you are playing Snap. The first one to say the multiplication of the two cards turned over (a four and a five = say “20”) gets the cards. The student to get all of the cards wins. Students learn their tables much more quickly when playing this game on a regular basis.

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Count to 21

Equipment: None

Description: Students start this game standing in a circle. Each student can say three numbers when it is their turn. For example, the first student may say 1, 2, 3; the second student might only say 4, 5. Students can say one, two or three numbers when it is their turn. The student who says number 21 is out and they sit down. The next student starts counting at 1 again. The game continues until there is only one student still standing.