Addition Card Game: Addition War

One of my favorite tools for practicing math with my kids is a simple deck of playing cards.  There are so many fun things you can do!

You can start with the basics, like this greater than or less than activity.

Or, you can practice harder math like this 3-digit addition activity.

But, today we’re going to play a simple addition card game we call Addition War.

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

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Setting up the game

You will need two people to play Addition War, no more and no less, and a deck of playing cards. Play with a friend or play with a parent.

Before beginning, you will want to pull all the jokers, jacks, queens, and kings from the deck.

Shuffle the cards and deal the entire deck to both players. Each player should have an equal amount of cards.

Now, it’s time to play.

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

How to play this addition card game

This game is similar to the classic card game War, but with a few twists. I’ve simplified the rules and incorporated addition into the game.

To start each player will turn over the top two cards in their stack and lay them side by side. Then, each play will add their two cards together.

The player with the largest sum gets all four cards. Put them in a discard pile. Each player will have their own discard pile.

Keep playing until the two piles of cards are gone.

After all the cards have been played, each player will count the cards in their discard pile. The player with the most cards wins.

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

What if the sums of both players cards are equal?

If the players’ cards are equal, leave them on the table and turn over the next two cards in the stacks and lay them on top of the first pair of cards.

The player who has the highest sum of their top two cards will take all eight of the cards.

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

Fun variations of this addition card game

You can make the game a little harder by leaving the kings, queens, and jacks in the deck. When adding your cards together, each jack would equal 11, queens are 12, and kings are 13.

If you’re working on adding more than 2 numbers together, each player can turn over 3, 4, or even 5 cards at a time. The game will go quicker, but it will still be fun.

Finally, you can also play this game using multiplication. Instead of adding the two cards together, multiply them!

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

If you enjoyed this addition card game, the above photo is perfect for sharing on Facebook or you can save the photo below on Pinterest.

Practice addition with a buddy when you play this easy addition card game, Addition War. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend for this fun math game.

You may also like one of these fun math activities:

Subtraction with Loose Parts Math Activity

Domino Addition

Making Ten with Cars

Pick Two LEGO Math Game at Creative Family Fun

Addition Game with UNO Cards at Planning Playtime


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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her here writing about fun learning activities, art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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