September 17, 2011

Math Game: Use Dominoes to Practice Number Bonds

A fun, hands-on math game to practice number bonds, or fact families, is with dominoes. First choose a sum that the dominoes must add up to. I usually use the number ten for double-nine dominoes.

"Dominoes" by Becky Bokern

Then place all of the dominoes face down and mix them up. Turn one domino face up. The first player draws a domino and if one of the sides of her domino plus one of the sides of the face-up domino add up to ten, she places her domino next to the face up domino and says, for example, "six and four make ten." Whether she can play her own domino or not, play passes to the next player. This game starts slow sometimes, but it picks up quickly and students end up scanning the table for all possible number bonds that add up to ten.

What I like about this game is that it is fun for any number of players, correction is immediate because the other players are watching, players are thinking mathematically while waiting for their turn, and once several dominoes are on the table, there are several possible correct answers for each turn.

Another fun game to practice number bonds is Salute. Also be sure to check out a page full of math games to play with UNO cards.

Question: What are your favorite games to practice math facts? Please share in the comments.


  1. What a great way to help children practice number families. It is hands-on and concrete while at the same time by saying the number family combinations aloud auditory learners are accommodated as well.

    I hope you don't mind that I have added a link from this blog to my article I Love Teaching Math.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Evelyn, and for linking to this page. I find that hands-on and concrete lessons are fun and "sticky," especially for primary-age kids.