July 20, 2014

This is a simple addition game called *42.* It’s great for younger and older kids, and again, offers opportunity to dig deeper and think about adding and subtracting in a fun way! While it seems very simple at first, it actually gives opportunity for rather complex thinking and many mental math calculations.

I recently shared some of these math games with a neighbor, and she said she couldn’t really figure out one of the games just by reading the directions on my blog. It got me thinking that I should probably just make videos of me teaching/playing them. Personally, even I don’t like reading through instructions to learn a game and would much rather have someone just show me. So I’ll try to go back and add videos for the last three games I posted (in addition to making videos for the future games). Here’s the first!

Some students might find it a little frustrating, while others may skip along in the game with no strategy and still have fun. Again, there is rich opportunity for discussion here, so watch your child while she is playing and try to see what she is thinking and help her grow from there! Strategy discussion ideas are offered at the end, as usual!

**>>>CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION WITH THE SCORING TEMPLATE AND INSTRUCTIONS.<<<**

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**Math Skills Covered:** Addition**Materials: **Deck of Cards**
# of Players: **2+

Grades:

**Prepare the deck: **Remove any Joker cards.

**Special card values:
**Ace = 1

Face cards (King, Queen and Jacks) = 10

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 = their face value

**OBJECT OF THE GAME: **Be the first to have your cards add up to exactly 42!

**HOW TO PLAY:**

- Deal out 5 cards per person. Leave the rest in a stack facing down as a draw pile.
- Players can leave their cards facing up. Players must have 5 cards, and 5 cards
*only*, at all times. Each player looks at their cards and adds up the points in their hand.

*In this hand, I have 5 + 6 + 6 + 7 + 10 = 34 points.*

My opponent has 10 + 9 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 26 points. - The player to the left of the dealer starts. He takes one card from the top of the middle pile, and turns it over. He decides whether or not he wants to keep it. If he wants to keep it, he must swap it with and discard one of his other cards. If he does not want it, he can simply put it in the discard pile. Either way, he can only have 5 cards at one time.

*Since I want to increase my score to get closer to 42, I decide I want this card, which is worth 10 points. I swap out my lowest card, 5, for the Jack. Net gain +5. Current total score = 39. I still need 3 more points to get to 42.* - The next player does the same thing, selecting from the stack of cards. Players may not take cards from the discard pile.

*Now it’s my turn again. I draw a 6. Since I need to add three to my score, and my lowest card is already a 6, then drawing a 6 does not help me at all. I place it face down in the discard pile on the right. My turn is over.* - Once a player has 5 cards that add up to 42, they win!

*I draw a queen, which is worth 10 points. Is it worth 3 more than any of my current cards? Ah-hah! It is 3 more than the 7! Perfect! I will swap out my 7, put in my queen, and declare, “42!”*

“42!”

**>>>CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION WITH THE SCORING TEMPLATE AND INSTRUCTIONS.<<<**

**FAQ:**

Q: Can I rearrange my cards so it’s easier for me to add?

*A: Yes.*

Q: Can I swap cards with another player?

*A: No.*

Q: Can I take a card from the discard pile?

*A: No.*

Q: Can I use just four of the cards in my hand?

*A: No.*

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**Variations:**

Once everyone is familiar with the game, players don’t have to show their hand.

To make it more challenging, change the rule so that you *can *take the top card from the discard pile. This will force players to pay attention to the person playing before them and think more. If the cards are all showing, it will add a different element to the game as well.

**Discuss Strategies:**

- Many children add up their hand, see how much more they need, and simply aim to pick up that number. For example, a child may have 10 + 10 + 10 + 6 + 4 and think, “Oh, I have 40. Now I just need 2 more.” While it’s true that they only need 2 more, beginning players often then search for the number 2. Actually, the child should be searching for a number that is
*2 more than any of their numbers*, such as (6 + 2) =*8*or (4 + 2) =*6*. Instead, beginning players often will trade one of their cards in for a “2” when they see it, and not realize what happened. They will add the numbers up and realize their score is even lower than before, but not really understand why. Discuss this with them. - Another common approach is for kids to just try to get bigger and bigger numbers, without having an actual plan for getting to 42. Suppose a child has 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10, which adds up to 40. Instead of thinking about their total as 40 and needing two more (in which case, 8, 9, and 10 could all be winning numbers for them), they just randomly swap out bigger cards for smaller cards. A 9 might come up, but the child would simply swap out the 6 for a 9 (in an effort to simply make a bigger number) without realizing that if they had swapped out the 7 instead, they could have won. Discuss this with them.
- Perhaps your child has cards with a low sum, such as 8, 1, 1, 4, 3, which adds up to 17. He understands that he needs to make it higher. When a 10 shows up, He then swaps his 8 out for the 10, correctly recognizing that his score is now a little higher. At this time, ask him what would happen to his total if he swapped out a different card with the ten. Help him see how getting rid of a lower card helps bring the score up even more quickly!
- See how your child arranges their playing cards. Is it just in the order it was dealt? Do they rearrange it to make groups of tens next to each other? After swapping in a new card, do they rearrange it again?

See more fun math games in my series on *Fun Math Games for Children!*

Your explanations are very clear. No problem understanding how to play the games. Love the games.

Thanks, Marilyn! I was beginning to worry no one was really interested in these haha =) But I think they’re such a valuable educational tool that I still wanted to share :).