Add or Subtract Your Way to Victory
- What: Nifty 50 card game
- When: Six years and up
- Why: Improve basic math skills, fun
- Where: At home
Get started with nothing more than a standard deck of cards. Shuffle the deck and split the cards evenly between all players. Each player then takes the four cards from the top of their stack. The goal of each round is to make an addition or subtraction equation with an answer as close to 50 as possible. Players configure two digit numbers by using the numbers on each card. Number cards are each worth their value (2-9), while 10’s and face cards all act as ones. Aces serve as zeros. Combine the digits to make two numbers, then add or subtract the two numbers to try and equal fifty.
The person closest to 50 gets one point. If you can get exactly 50, you earn two points. Any players who come equally close cancel each other out, and neither player earns any points in that round. Keep a running total (we like to use tally marks on our chalkboard mats) handy nearby. Once you’ve played the four cards dealt to you, discard them and take four new cards to start the next round.
Kids can play this game solo to improve their skills, or you can play with multiple players. There’s really no limit, though after four or five players, you can add a second deck to provide enough cards. You can play through the deck, and see who has the most points, or reshuffle as needed to reach a certain point total before declaring the winner.