Dec 13

6 holiday party game ideas for the classroom or at home

It’s quite common at this time of year to find yourself around a table playing a game with friends and family. Other than joy and entertainment, we know there are many educational benefits to playing games. They involve strategic thinking and planning, which requires players to use probability and numerical reasoning to optimize gameplay. One of the best part of games, they’re accessible. If games are chosen correctly, they can be engaging for all ages and abilities!

Heading into the holidays, we have identified six activities from our library of lessons that will work for any holiday party – whether it’s in your classroom or with friends and family at home. These games take little effort to learn and will capture everyone’s attention. The best part: they target number sense and data management in a playful manner. All you need are dice or a deck of playing cards to get everyone started.

3 Dice Games

These dice games get children thinking strategically as they make choices based on chance and probability.

Early Years

Players attempt to collect all the dice in the game. Players roll to establish a numerical score and the highest roll, takes possession of all the dice.

Primary

Players eliminate a series of numbers to achieve the lowest possible score by the end of each round.

Junior

Using probability, players must choose between locking in their points or attempting to reach a higher score.

3 Card Games

These card games get children practicing mental math skills as they assess card values, calculate scores, and strategize their next move.

Early Years

Using the four basic operations, players take turns asking opponents for cards that will create a target number.

Primary

Players attempt to collect all the cards in the deck. Two players simultaneously reveal their cards. The higher card takes both cards.

Junior

Players aim to have the lowest score by drawing and swapping cards to achieve a combination of low-value cards.

Related resources

If you’re interested in learning more about the developmental benefits of playing games, here are some of our previously published resources.

Math game recommendations

University of Toronto Lab School teachers share the board games and activities that are most popular in their classrooms.

Math in a deck of cards

Dr. Julie Comay shares how playing cards can be used to explore mathematical concepts with children. She also recommends a series of child-friendly card games.