Subtraction Games

Lori Soard
Family playing math game

Learning to subtract numbers is a vital skill that your child will use throughout his life and on a daily basis. Playing games to reinforce this basic math skill can make learning fun and enhance ability. Fortunately, there is a wide range of math games to keep your child motivated and interested in math.

Homemade Games

Playing Store

Playing store is a simple way to teach subtraction in a fun way. Gather items like plastic fruit and canned goods. Price each item. The best way to price them is with the little round stickers that can be purchased at any office supply store. You can make the amounts as simple or as complicated as you'd like. Next, have the student add the items being purchased and then subtract the total from the amount the person playing customer offers. For example, if the items total $3.50 and the customer gives the student $10.00, then the student would subtract $3.50 from $10.00. You can also coach the customer to take items off the order after receiving the total or to give the cashier a coupon for 10 percent off. This game teaches money math.

Fly Swatter

I Love That Teaching Idea has an idea for a homemade fly swatter math game that works for groups of children. This might be a fun game to play when a co-op gets together or during get togethers with homeschool families. To play the game, draw two large squares on a chalk board or dry erase board. Divide each square into nine smaller squares. You will have three columns and three rows. Draw a number in each square. Hand each team a fly swatter. Students on each team rotate turns. Once you've called out the problem, the first team to hit the correct answer with the fly swatter gets a point and then passes the fly swatter to the next person in line. This game helps students increase their math speed.

Make a Game Board

Create your own game based on any theme that you know your child will love. Draw a path with squares on a large sheet of cardboard. You can use stickers to decorate with the them. Create cards with different numbers on them. Have the student draw a card and then roll a dice. The number on the dice should be subtracted from the number on the card and the student will move that many spaces. Keep the totals low to make the game last longer. This game reinforces basic subtraction skills.

Commercial Games

Math Smart Card Game

Math Smart makes several card games for different aspects of basic math. The subtraction cards are used like dominoes, but amounts must be subtracted to get the right match. The set has 100 cards. A card features a math problem on one side and a circled answer to a different problem on the other side. Players must match answers to math facts as the cards are laid out flat.

Monkey Math

Monkey math features a plastic monkey that acts like a scale. Although the game can be played by adding bananas and making sure the monkey holds equal bananas on both sides, parents can easily adapt this game by having the student take equal numbers of bananas away. This game is also a fun way to teach equality.

Number Ninjas

Number Ninjas is a board game that teaches basic math facts, including subtraction.The game is played by up to four players at a time. Each player rolls two dice, solves the equation and then moves forward based on that number. The game adapts with your child's math level. Beginners use a set of dice that only feature subtraction and addition problems. More advanced players also solve multiplication and division problems.

Online Games

Space Shuttle Launch

This game will be a lot of fun for those interested in space shuttles and astronauts. Load the game and choose the Subtraction problems option (you can also choose addition, multiplication or division or random problems). Solve the problems to launch the space shuttle. This game will build speed and skills.

Ducky Race Subtraction

Young kids will enjoy Ducky Race Subtraction. This game allows up to 12 people to play at once. Your child will race against other ducks. Answer the questions to power the duck in the race. How fast a correct answer is given determines how fast the duck swims. If you don't want your child to play against strangers, you can also create a private game and invite other homeschoolers or family members to join the race.

Fishing Subtraction

Softschools' Fishing Subtraction game offers a math problem. The player must then click on the fish that has the correct answer. If the correct fish is chosen, the fisherman will catch the fish and points will be awarded. A final score is awarded at the end. Challenge your child to get a better score each time.

Princess Math

Little girls who love princesses and fairy tales will enjoy Princess Math. Choose subtraction as an option. You will be given an answer. Choose a dress for the princess, which will be a large number. Then, choose a tiara with a number that you can subtract from the larger number to get the answer. If a child passes 10 levels, she will get three minutes to play with the online doll and dress her in any way she chooses.

Skater Math

Skater Math is perfect for boys who like outdoor sports. Solve the problems to make your skater jump over obstacles. The student must solve the problem and enter the answer at the right time to make the character jump.

Mix It Up

One of the problems with math drills can be boredom. Mix up the different types of games to avoid subtraction burnout. Have your child play a homemade game, take on a challenger during a board game, and then move to online games, and he will be less likely to grow bored with learning subtraction skills.

Subtraction Games