Are you homeschooling a tween or teen and looking for the best math games for middle school? Look no further, my friend. I’ve got you covered.
As a school psychologist, lifelong gamer, and homeschool mom, I am passionate about play-based learning and gameschooling. I’ve witnessed the educational benefit of games when it comes to learning countless times! As a school psychologist, I used games with children and teens from preschool to 12th grade. Now, as a homeschool mom, I play games with my children daily.
My oldest is about to enter high school, my daughter is heading into seventh grade, and my youngest is about to enter sixth grade. Today, I’m sharing our family’s favorite math games for middle schoolers.
60 Awesome Math Games For Middle School
Whether you’re a homeschool parent looking to spice up your math routine, a classroom teacher in need of something different, or a parent looking to work on skills in a stealthy way, gameschooling is an amazing tool!
Learning With Games (even in middle school!)
Play is not just fun, it’s essential. Research has demonstrated that play benefits the whole child. Play has a positive impact on a child’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. We all know that play is critical to child development.
But, guess what?
Research has shown that play is important for all of us, not just children. That includes our tweens and teens!
One way to add more play to your homeschool day, and to connect with your tweens and teens, is to incorporate gameschooling into the day.
When I worked as a school psychologist, I used games to connect with students. This worked exceptionally well with tweens and teens. They could avoid eye contact, their hands were busy, and they were engaged in a pleasurable task: play! Before they knew it, we were having fun together, building trust, and growing an important connection.
This strategy works for our tweens and teens, too! Do you know how our tweens and teens get moody and distant? They withdraw a bit and it can be tough to know what they are thinking. This is all developmentally appropriate, of course. Teens are supposed to grow in independence, but it’s important to maintain a connection.
Gameschooling helps. In our world, games can be magical. Sure, it might start with him complaining that he doesn’t want to play with me, but if I add some hot cocoa, popcorn and a dollop of patience, he’s soon chatting and enjoying our time together.
Gameschooling is a judgment-free zone (and a stealthy way to work on academic skills)!
Gameschooling offers kids a chance to learn new skills, practice old ones, fail, succeed, and try again. Games don’t judge. They aren’t threatening. Games don’t assign homework. They don’t correct. Games offer a safe space for learning. When you play your way through a challenging subject, you’re more likely to retain information.
Betsy Mays is a former middle school math teacher and founder of Games by Absolute Zero. Last summer, Betsy joined the Never Board Learning Community to discuss the importance of play with it comes to math skill development.
Here’s a clip from that interview on the importance of play and learning:
The Power Of Adding Games To Math
Gameschooling can be especially powerful when it comes to math! Math can be intimidating for many learners. Games help to make the material more accessible. Plus, when you’re having fun you remember more!
Semper Smart Games has many math games for middle schoolers (Play Smart Dice and Blobby’s Pizza). Last fall, I had the chance to chat with the founder of Semper Smart Games, Jim Moran. Jim visited the Never Board Learning Community to talk about the value of play when it comes to learning and I just love what he had to say about the associations we make when we play games.
Here’s a clip from that conversation:
Jim also used the example of how everyone who has ever played Monopoly knows that Boardwalk and Park Place are blue.
That’s the power of play! When you are enjoying yourself, you make more connections.
And that’s why gameschooling math, especially in the middle school years, can have a profound impact on learning.
I also want you to know that while there are tons of math games on the market today, virtually every game incorporates math skills… especially if you ask your kiddo to be the scorekeeper!
When you first start gameschooling, focus on what is fun. The connection is most important. Don’t get caught up in the ages listed on the box, or the skills you feel your middle schooler “should” be learning right now, just follow your teen’s interest and they will learn oodles and bunches. Because that’s what kids are born to do!
60 Math Games For Middle School
All that said, I know you came here for the middle school math games and I’m not going to let you down! In no particular order, I present to you:
Yes, that War. You don’t need an overflowing game collection to be a gameschooler! There are loads of math games you can play with a standard deck of cards, including War! A quick Google will show you that War has many variations including Addition War, Subtraction War, Fraction War, and Multiplication War.
2. Star Realms
Star Realms is a deck-building game that my boys are obsessed with! This game is affordable, easy to learn, highly engaging, and travels well, making it easy to play on the go. Scoring is constant throughout the game and includes loads of subtraction. My boys love to play deep into negative numbers and they are having such a blast they have no clue they are practicing math!
SKYJO is a colorful card game that, in our family’s opinion, is highly addictive. The game plays in under 30 minutes and is for 2-8 players (great for large families!). SKYJO is a fast-paced game. It involves attention and concentration, negative numbers, and adding 2-digit numbers up to 100. It’s a great way to practice math skills and speed!
4. Five Crowns
This is one of my faves and is another highly-addicting card game. (Don’t believe me? It has five stars with over 20k reviews on Amazon!) Five Crowns is affordable, travels well, and is flexible as it can be played with up to 7 players and also includes a solitaire version. Gameplay involved logic, attention, frequent addition and subtraction, and probability.
I’m sure you played this code-breaking game as a kiddo and let me tell you, it’s just as much fun for teens and adults! It’s so simple and yet offers a great challenge for young and old. When you play Mastermind, you’re working on logic and reasoning, attention, and strategy. While you play, you’re experiencing permutations and combinations. Take it to the next level by figuring out how many possible combinations are possible with six different colors and four peg spaces!
6. Antiquity Quest
Antiquity Quest is a card game produced by Grandpa Beck’s Games, a family-run company that we adore. The game can be played as individuals (2-8 players) or in teams of two. In this game, players compete to acquire the best antiquities collection. The better the collection, the more it is worth. Gameplay involves planning, strategy, and logic. Scoring involves adding collections worth thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
7. Cover Your Assets
Cover Your Assets is another fun card game from Grandpa Beck’s Games. This game is quick to play. Players compete to construct towers of matching assets by making matches, including swiping from their opponents. The first player to $1,000,000 in assets wins. The game includes advanced play options.
8. Blobby’s Pizza
Blobby’s Pizza is produced by Semper Smart Games (I mentioned creator Jim Moran earlier when talking about how powerful play can be when it comes to learning). Blobby’s Pizza is a pizza-eating contest game featuring monsters. The gameplay incorporates fractions, decimals, and percentages. This game also includes advanced play options.
9. Play Smart Dice
Play Smart Dice, created by Jim Moran and Semper Smart Games, improve math fluency. Unlike traditional dice, Play Smart Dice were designed (by Jim!) to result in harder-to-learn number combinations. When Jim visited Never Board Learning, he talked about how Play Smart Dice are based on math research. Some number combinations are harder for students to learn when it comes to addition and multiplication (the 8s table is more challenging than the 2s table, for example). These dice come with five math games (and can also be used with games you have in your game closet).
SET is an award-winning card game that works on visual perception skills. It is fun for all ages with a high replayability value. Players compete to make sets of 3 cards based on specific attributes (number, shape, color, shading). SET can be played with any number of players, including a solo player version.
11. Lost Cities
Lost Cities is quite possibly our family’s favorite 2-player game. It’s fun to play with minimal in-game text (so you can play with prereaders if they are interested), and scoring includes a ton of stealth math!
12. Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero was created by a retired middle school math teacher. In this game, players work to combine positive and negative numbers to reach zero. It can be played with 2-5 players and includes three bonus games that can be played using the deck.
13. Logic Links
Logic Links is a fantastic logic game that can be played as a solo player game or in groups. Logical reasoning is an important part of mathematics and I love that there are so many wonderful logic games on the market today!
Quoridor is a quick-to-learn and quick-to-play abstract strategy game for 2-4 players. At first glance, it appears simple, but Quoridor offers an exciting challenge!
Chess is a fantastic 2-player math game for all ages! Did you know chess is a mandatory school subject in Armenia? And many schools around the world offer chess clubs as extracurricular activities. (Love chess? This magnetic chess travel board is GOLD.)
16. Prime Climb
Our family backed Prime Climb on Kickstarter many years ago. This math game can be played with 2-4 players. While you play, you’ll be practicing multiplication, division, factorization, and learning about prime numbers.
17. Genius Square
Our family fell in love with this logic game a few years ago. Genius Square is highly addictive and fun. So fun and addicting that we decided to up the challenge by purchasing…
18. Genius Star!
Genius Star is my favorite logic game of all time. It can be played as a solo-player game or with two players. The goal is to race to find the solution. Bonus points if you complete the puzzle with the golden star!
19. Full of Bull
This dice rolling and bluffing game is hilarious! And, when your kids play Full of Bull, they will be practicing algebraic thinking, addition, and multiplication skills.
20. Math Dice and Math Dice Chase
21. Clumsy Thief
Clumsy Thief is an addictive and award-winning card game. This fast-paced money game requires that players create stacks of money that add to 100. It plays quickly and works on math fluency.
Molkky is one of our family’s favorite outdoor games. Popular in Europe, Molkky is for 2 or more players. It can be played in your backyard, at the beach, or a party. I love Molkky because it works on mental math skills as players add the points on their pins as they knock them over. (Our family tries to do this without a scorecard for an added challenge.)
Sudoku is a pencil-and-paper logic game. In Sudoku, players must place the digits 1-9 on a grid in such a way that no digits are repeated in each row, column, and square.
24.RPGs like D&D
Before having kiddos, I had never played Dungeons and Dragons or other role-playing games (RPGs), but my boys have taught me how to play. While not my favorite genre, many RPGs (like D&D) are dice games and they involve more than meets the eye! Dungeons and Dragons has a ton of stealth math and language arts!
25. Power Grid
This one is for gamers because Power Grid is a more complex game than others on this list, with a playtime of approximately 90 minutes. I had to include it, though, because if you want to get the most out of each turn, Power Grid involves nonstop mental math.
26. Dutch Blitz
Dutch Blitz is a quick-to-play card game that can be played with up to 8 players. This is a great family game that involves numeric sequencing during play and addition and subtraction skills for scoring.
Sagrada is one of my favorite games and my tween and teen love it, too. This beautiful game is easy to learn and has high replayability. Gameplay involves executive functioning and logic skills and scoring involves quite a bit of math.
Sagrada is produced by Floodgate Games. Earlier this year, I had the chance to sit down with Ben Harkins, owner of Floodgate Games for a Never Board Learning Guest Event. I love what Ben had to say about the magic of ah-ha moments when playing games:
Proof! is a card game for 2-6 players, with adaptable rules for younger kiddos. This math game can be played in just 15 minutes and works on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots.
Scrabble is popular the world over and is fun for all ages. This letter tile game is for 2-4 players and, at first glance, it appears to be a language arts game. And, it is! But there’s a ton of addition and multiplication throughout the game, especially if you give your kiddo a funky pen, scented marker, or dry-erase board and ask them to be scorekeeper!
Tri-ominos is a triangular tile-placement domino-style game. Players must use strategy to score the most points each turn. It incorporates a lot of mental math during each turn and scoring.
31. Q-Bitz and Q-Bitz Extreme
32. Spot It
33. Skull King
Skull King is a card game by Grandpa Beck’s games. It is played in rounds and scores are tallied each round. The scorekeeper gets a lot of mental math practice during this one!
Swish is a card game that uses logic skills, transformational geometry/spatial skills, and visual perception. Players must flip, rotate, and stack transparent cards to make matches (known as “swishes”).
Onitama is a 2-player abstract strategy game. The game is beautiful and it’s easy to learn, yet it offers a nice challenge. If your kids love chess, check out Onitama!
Yahtzee is a classic dice game for 2 or more players. Yahtzee involves both luck and strategy… and a ton of scoring! Scoring involves addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Yahtzee is also a great way to teach probability and statistics!
Cribbage is a card game for 2-3 players that incorporates a board with pegs for scoring. The first player to reach 121 points is the winner. Throughout the game, players are constantly computing sums and thus working on math fluency.
38. Even Steven’s Odd
Even Steven’s Odd is a fast-paced dice rolling game for 2-4 players. When your children and teens play Even Steven’s Odd, they’ll be working on addition and subtraction fluency in addition to odd and even numbers.
39. Tang Math Games
Tang Math Games offer several game packs and classroom packs with games that work on specific math skills. These games are created by Greg Tang, a math expert, and author.
40. Math Fluxx
Matt Fluxx is a version of the Fluxx card game! This card game can be played with 2-6 players. Fluxx is an addicting card game with ever-changing rules and this version adds a mathematical spin!
41. Rush Hour
Rush Hour is an award-winning single-player logic game. The player must race to get their car out of a traffic jam. Prompt cards get increasingly complex, offering a challenge for all ages.
Catan is an extremely popular board game for 3-4 players. Gameplay involves strategy and logical thinking with a dollop of luck thrown in. Catan is also a great way to teach children and teens about probability.
43. 4-Way Countdown or Shut the Box
44. Nerdle (online)
Kanoodle is an award-winning, super fun three-dimensional one-player logic game. Players must complete 3-D puzzles as quickly as they can. The gameplay involves logic and spatial skills.
46. Multiplication Slam (battery-operated)
Multiplication Slam is a hand-held battery-operated multiplication game. In this game of speed (read: math fluency), players race to compute the answer. There are five games included and the games work on multiples, factors, and sequencing.
47. Math Shark (battery-operated)
Math Shark is a hand-held battery-operated math game that works on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Race to compute the answer and you’ll be working on those math fluency skills. This game can also be used as a calculator.
48. Math Whiz (battery-operated)
Math Whiz is a hand-held battery-operated math game that works on math fluency in the areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This game can double as a calculator.
49. Mathle (online, free)
Mathle is a Wordle spinoff with a mathy twist. The goal is to guess the correct addition or subtraction equation in five attempts. Every day there is a new Mathle.
50. Primel (online, free)
Primel is yet another Wordle spinoff for math lovers. Players have six attempts to guess a prime number. A new Primel is added daily.
51. Chess.com (online, free)
My children love chess.com. It can be played anywhere and it’s free!
52. Beast Academy Playground (online, free)
Beast Academy Playground offers free online math games. The games are marketed toward younger children, but I can assure you that my kids love these hands-on activities, games, and puzzles. If you’d like to learn more, read my full review of Beast Academy Playground.
53. Prodigy Math (online, free basic membership)
Prodigy Math offers a free version and a membership. Prodigy is an adaptive math game where players go on “quests” and use math skills along the way. It is marked for grades 1-8.
Monopoly is loved by many and despised by many, but regardless of your feelings, it offers a ton of math practice during play!
55. Monopoly Deal
If you’re not up for a full game of Monopoly, consider playing Monopoly Deal. This card game is for 2-6 players and can be played in just 15 minutes.
Pentago is an award-winning 2-player logic game with a rotating board. Players take turns placing marbles in an attempt to place five marbles in a row, but after each turn, one quadrant of the board is rotated 90 degrees!
57. Math Sprint
Math Sprint is an award-winning board game from Byron’s Games. Math Sprint works on math fluency in the areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
58. Minecraft (online)
Children and teens love Minecraft, but did you know you can use Minecraft to teach mathematics? It’s true!
59. Rubik’s Cube
60. 24 Game
24 Game is a simple card game that involves addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It also comes in several variations, from single digits to double digits, to factors and multiples, to positive and negative integers, to algebra and exponents.
You’ll never regret playing educational (and non-educational) board games with your middle schooler!
Do you need more gameschooling resources?
Never Board Learning [Gameschooling Community]
Never Board Learning is a private online community for creative parents and educators who embrace play-based learning and gameschooling. This is a wonderful way to add more educational games and interest-led learning to your homeschool routine.
Never Board Learning features a private community forum (not Facebook), guest speakers, live Q and As, day-in-the-life family spotlights, a private blog, and access to a growing printable resource library.
Join Never Board Learning today and have more fun tomorrow! Learn more here.
Gameschooling 101: How to Add More Play to Your Homeschool Day [Self-Paced Digital Course]
Play can boost connection, fuel learning, and revolutionize your homeschool routine. We all know play is an essential part of child development, but how do you fit it in when you have a huge homeschool to-do list?
In this digital course, you’ll learn how to add more play to your homeschool day with gameschooling. Gameschooling is the intersection of play and homeschooling and it can change your entire homeschool atmosphere for the better!
Never Board Learning and My Little Poppies [Storefront]
Visit the NBL and MLP Amazon Storefront for more gameschooling, homeschooling, and book recommendations!