2017 Summer Game #18: Mental Addition

One of the many aspects that drew me to RightStart™ Math was the idea of my children learning how to do mental math. Growing up, the whole idea of mental math was fascinating to me, but it was not encouraged. And, to be honest, I really doubted my own children’s ability to actually calculate equations in their minds. But they can! All four of them!

That being said, a couple of my kids needed a little extra practice. That’s when I found the Mental Addition game in the Math Card Games book, game A57. If you are finding your children struggling with mental addition, this is a fabulous game to give them a bit more practice in a fun setting.

You will need the Basic Number card deck without the 10s and about 40 cards from the Multiplication card deck. Be sure to pick double-digit cards from the Multiplication cards. Each player is dealt five cards from the Basic Number card deck. When a card is played, the player will draw another so she always has five cards in hand. Also, be sure to have the AL Abacus available as a resource when needed.

To begin, start two rows. Each row will have one Multiplication card and one Basic Number card.

The first player will use their mental math skills to add the two cards in each row. Remember, if the child is struggling, use the abacus as this will build a mental model of addition.

If the player has a card that matches either the ones place or the tens place in either or both rows, she can lay it down in the row. For example, the first addition equation is 32 + 9 = 41. If the player has either a 4-card or a 1-card, the card can be played.

Checking the second row’s equation gives 56 + 6 = 62. Again, if the player has either a 6-card or a 2-card, the card can be played during the same turn.

Once the first player has either played her cards, it is the next player’s turn.

If the player cannot play in either row, he can start a new row with a Multiplication card and a Basic Number card from the stock. There must always be at least two rows available to play on.

The player who completes a row collects the cards from that row.

When the Multiplication deck has been exhausted, the game is over. The winner is the one who has collected the most cards.

Over the years, I have spoken to many parents via email or at conventions who feels their children need some extra time and work to be able to do mental math. I almost always recommend this math card game for them to play. It is really fun and it helps the student in their mental math skills.

If you have a favorite game that you enjoy playing or if you would like to request a specific game to be included in this blog series, please comment below. We would love to hear from you!



  1. Is there a place we can find all of the posts on the games? Do you have a YouTube channel of your games?

    • Rachel Anderson says

      Hi, Monica.

      Yes! We have a way for you to find all the posts on the math card games. Simply go to the BLOG portion of our website. On the right side you will see a section called, ‘Categories’. You can click on ‘Card Games’ and you will find all the posts written about math card games.

      You can also search YouTube for RightStart Math Card Games and there are some games listed out there as well.

      Finally, we have pre-recorded webinars of some of our math card games. To get there, you will click on the Resources Tab on the top of the website page, click on Pre-Recorded Webinars, and then scroll down to Math Card Games. You can choose one of the math card game topics there.

      I hope that helps! If you have any further questions, pleae do not hesitate to repost here or email RightStart Math at info@rightstartmath.com.

      Have a great school year!

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