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Loopy games


Loopy games are generally a set of ‘cards’ that are used by a group of students to practise their mental mathematics. The card sets can come in a number of forms. Some involve a unique pathway from a ‘start’ to a ‘finish’. Other form a genuine loop, so any card can be used first, with the loop finishing once the starting card is revisited. Some provide answers to a problem, then a new problem, while others require students to mentally hold what where the number is up to, and then operate on this.

Loopy games can also be played in a number of ways, several of which are outlined below. Note that loopy games can be a lot of fun, but can get somewhat noisy if someone is not paying attention and does not spot their answer. On a fine day, loopy could be played outside for 5 to ten minutes. Also note that loopy games tend to be very frustrating for students who do not have the maths skills required to answer the questions on the cards, so they should be carefully targeted to groups of students who have recently learned the mathematics involved or are revisiting the concept(s) as part of their reinforcement work.

Instructions for use

  1. Shuffle the cards, then deal out the cards to the group, (it does not matter if not all students have exactly the same number of cards). Generally, one person will have a card that says ‘start’ or something similar, but if this does not exist then anyone can go first. Once the start point has been located, the person with this card calls out the problem on the bottom of their card. Students then need to mentally work out the answer to that problem, and see if one of their cards has the answer. If they do, they call it out, and read the problem at the bottom of their own card for someone else to answer.
  2. Loopy games can be timed, with a group challenging their ‘best time’. Alternatively, groups of similar abilities can race each other, or groups of different abilities can use different sets of loopy cards that target different skills.
  3. Students are not allowed to call out the answers to help people who cannot do the math. If ‘someone’ cannot find the answer to the question, the person who read out the problem should read it out again.
  4. Sets of loopy cards can also be used as dominoes, just as sets of (unique) dominoes can be used for a loopy game

The following sets of Loopy cards can be downloaded and printed in either PDF or Word format.



Algebra Loopy  PDF (51KB)  Word (46KB)
Algebra Language Loopy  PDF (59KB)  Word (40KB)
One Decimal Place Add/Sub Loopy  PDF (22KB)  Word (48KB)
Two Decimal Place Add/Sub Loopy  PDF (24KB)  Word (45KB)


Links to other Loopy games can be found from A little bit more/A little bit less and Multiple Ways to Add and Subtract