Trying to make maths fun? It’s a formidable task, but the cause is worthwhile. If you want to transform maths into an activity that raises a smile rather than a groan, you should ditch wearisome worksheets and irksome activity books, and give one of the best maths board games a whirl instead.
Whether you’re looking for an educational kids board game, a family board game everyone can join in with, or a game to mould your own grey matter into a more numerate form, these are the best maths board games to try. It can be hard to get kids to engage with games that are explicitly educational, so we’ve also included a few of the best board games which don’t set out with that goal, but manage to achieve it anyway.
The best maths board games:
One of the best ways a maths board game can make numeracy less nasty is by tapping into kids’ built-in desire for competition. Prime Climb takes the evil random luck of Ludo, where you can send an opponent’s piece all the way back to the start by landing on them, and then gives you the tools to target your opponent.
Movement in this game can be forward or backward, and is determined by adding (or subtracting, multiplying, or dividing) your roll with the space you’re currently standing on. You also gain bonus cards for landing on prime numbers. Prime Climb can boost maths skills and it’s also undeniably fun.
Sushi Go Party
Bet you didn’t realise this fun family board game was actually teaching you maths the entire time! While it’s not billed as an educational board game, and its colourful, friendly sushi characters don’t look like they’re trying to teach you much, Sushi Go Party has teaching power nonetheless.
The game requires you to get to grips with numbers, dealing with totting up your score, thinking about probabilities, and performing simple multiplication sums in order to land a high scoring menu.
Head Full of Numbers
Maths board game Head Full of Numbers is a bit like mathematical Boggle. Dice are rolled out on a tray and players must then form as many different, correct equations as possible. This one will have you thinking about how numbers fit together, while having fun racing against the clock. It’s also a good teaching tool, since less experienced players can learn from the high scorers’ equations.
Shut the Box
Dice are the math-iest thing most board games have going for them, so it’s unsurprising that many dice games can moonlight as educational tools. Shut the Box is a game where you’re trying to lower as many numbered tiles as possible. You do this by throwing two dice, and then lowering tiles that add up to that score. The game is simple to teach, takes minutes to play, and can help its players get to grips with numbers. In particular, it’s great for teaching kids how large numbers can be split into smaller ones.
If the area of maths you’re interested in concerns shapes rather than numbers, then Blokus is the maths board game for you. This tile-laying title, in which players place irregular blocky shapes in a grid, is a fun and mind-bending puzzle game.
Players are eliminated when they can no longer place a piece, so the aim is to dominate the board and trap your opponents in small spaces. While you won’t learn maths facts like the sum of angles in a triangle or the number of sides on a hexagon in this tile game, Blokus can be great for getting to grips with space and shape.