Rummy, which has a variety of other names, is a common card game for children. Turn it into a fun math card game to add an educational element at the same time. Your child may never know they are doing extra math work at home!
Review the rules: Use a standard deck of cards. Deal out seven cards, stack the rest in a pile on table. Turn the top card over. The goal is to get a “rum” of either three of a kind or three cards in numerical sequence. Aces are be counted as a one or one above the King. Take turns picking up a card from the pile or the one facing up. Organize cards in your hand by potential “rums.” Place any “rums” on the table during your turn, discard one card. Once a rum is played other players may add to it, by placing a single card down in front of them that could be added onto someone else’s ( a 4th card of a kind of the next number up or down in sequence. Play continues one until on player used all their cards. Scoring is five points for each number card, ten points for each face cards and fifteen for an ace. Check a card game rule book for more specific details are common variations.
Math Variation 1: When they put the “rum” down they must to do something with the numbers. At first it will be adding or counting them. As they get older it might be multiplying. Problems should be stated fully aloud. For a “rum” of three fives the player would say, “Five plus five plus five is fifteen.”
Variation 2: Review multiplication families or factors. Add the three cards together and state all the multiplication facts that have that same answer. A J, Q, K is 36, so the student needs to come up with 6×6, 9×4 12×3 and 2×18. A “rum” of three twos adds up to 6, so the facts are only 2×3.
Variation 3: Play the game and add points as usual. Spread all their cards on the table and see how many different math family groupings can be created. Give bonus points for each grouping. For this the Jack is 11, Queen 12 and King is 13. A group with a 3, 5, 8 is a group 4, 9, K is a group. They must state the group and all the facts that can be made with them, 9+4=13; 4+9=13; 13-4=9; 13-9=4
Taking this common game and changing into a math card game adapts it in a way to make math more fun for your child in a subtle way. Children in one family at different levels could play the same game with different expectations, the younger ones count, the older ones add or multiply. The repetition of facts that happened by playing these games over and over again, facts will help solidify the child’s grasp of these math facts. I can easily say I know that 15×3 is 45 without even thinking is from all the times I added up my points for three aces as a child when playing rummy!