22 Maths Mentals Classroom Games and Teaching Resources

Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Mental maths or maths mentals is a students ability to make calculations in their mind without the guidance of pencil and paper, calculators or other aids. It is often used as a way to calculate and estimate quickly, using maths facts that students have committed to memory, such as multiplication, division, doubles facts etc.

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Therefore, to develop as a maths mentals whiz, students must have a strong number sense.


In the early years, subitising activities are extremely useful to lay the foundations of students developing a strong number sense. This early maths skill encourages children to rapidly recognise quantities. These subitising flash cards, used daily, are a great way to improve your students skills.

This first set of flash cards is simply black dots – ask your students to quickly tell you how many dots they see on each flashcard.

Subitising Flash Cards

This second set of flash cards has some black dots and some white.

Ask your students to tell you how many black dots, how many white dots and then how many dots altogether?

Subitising Flash Cards

Finally, some of these coloured subitising flash cards have three different colours, this is a good extension for those students who have well developed subitising skills.

Subitising Flash Cards

Teaching Number Facts & Mental Maths Strategies

As children learn to add numbers, they become very reliant on counting. This is OK with small numbers, however, it can cause difficulties down the track when students begin to add larger numbers mentally. For example, if a student used counting strategies, such as counting on by ones, to add 35 + 45, they would most likely loose count. It is also not an efficient way to work out this sum. Therefore, embedding basic number fact and place value knowledge in students is another important step in the process of being able to solve maths problems mentally.

A knowledge of number facts then transforms into the different mental strategies that can be used. We have a variety of posters and resources that can help in this part of the teaching process:

Number Talk

Encourage ‘number talk’ daily! Students discussing their strategies is imperative in teaching mental maths.

Every morning in my classroom, we had ‘number talk’. I would put a couple of maths problems on the board and students would work out each problem in their head. Once they had an answer they would place their hands on their head.

They discussed their answer and selected strategy with a partner and then with the class. The discussions that took place were some of the best teaching moments I had that year! Seeing the ‘lightbulb’ light up in students heads as they heard their friends explain to them how they had worked it out!

Practise, Practise, Practise

Along with the explicit teaching and discussing of different strategies, it is also important to provide a number of other hands-on opportunities for students to cement different strategies. Here are some of my favourite:

101 and out!

Kids love playing this! Especially if they play it against their teacher!

Explain to the class that initially they will be playing against you, then against each other. The aim of the game is to get to 100 without going over!

Each team rolls a dice (or two). They then decide if they are going to use the total as a place value of tens or ones/units. For example, if they roll a 6 they can choose to add 6 to their total or 60. Each team needs to then record their running total on a sheet of paper and colour in the different sub totals on their hundreds board.



Bingo is always a very popular game to play in the classroom. We have a variety of multiplication, division, addition and subtraction bingo games available. These can assist in cementing certain maths facts in your students.

Operation Domination

A game using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

The aim of the game is to cover each of the numbered boxes on the game card by correctly answering the calculation that has been drawn out.

Use whichever combination of operation cards to adjust the difficulty of the game.


Move Up the Ladder

Race against the clock!

Kids always love a bit of a challenge. Using our Number Ladder template, students must roll two dice and then add the two numbers together as they ‘climb’ the ladder.

Who can climb their ladder the quickest?

Laminate the ladder and use a white board marker so that it can be played again and again!


Create Maths Mentals Flip Books

Using our addition flashcards, create an addition flip book. A quick and easy resource that can be used all year round. I used to set the timer for 5 minutes and get the students to write the answer (the answer only) of as many sums as they can. Who got the most correct?

We also have subtraction flashcards, division flashcards and multiplication flashcards available to download.

Addition Flip Book

Weekly Maths Mentals Quiz

Have you seen our Maths Mentals widget?

This is such an amazing, time-saving teaching tool that all teachers will love. Create your own maths mentals worksheets. Simply pick your year level, how many weeks you want (right up to 40 weeks!). Then, click the green ‘Download’ button! It is that easy…try it out now!


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Comments & feedback

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Marilyn Potter

I’m particularly interested in creating my own Maths Mentals worksheets. Which plan do I need for this?

Marilyn Potter · Jul 13th, 2019

Holly (Teach Starter)

Hi Marilyn, the maths mentals widget is available on the plus plan. If you have any further questions, feel free to email [email protected] and our customer support team can help out.

Holly (Teach Starter) · Jul 15th, 2019

Angie Watts

Hi is it possible to make a math mental worksheet that only focuses on addition and subtraction?

Angie Watts · May 4th, 2017

Nicole Briggs

Really appreciate this mental maths widget – thanks! 🙂

Nicole Briggs · Apr 18th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

You’re most welcome Nicole!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Apr 19th, 2017

Raquel Hirsch

Hi guys, i’m wondering why the bingo games have ‘free’ in the middle?

Raquel Hirsch · Apr 5th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

Hi Raquel,

The ‘free’ in the bingo games are just a free spot! The students don’t need to cover this box to be able to win the bingo game!

I hope this makes sense.

Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Apr 19th, 2017

Carolyn Bailey

Thank you for your wonderful resources. Much appreciated.

Carolyn Bailey · Mar 6th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

You’re most welcome Carolyn! Enjoy!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 6th, 2017

Hayley Dorrstein

My 9 year old daughter is very excited to try the maths mentals and it is so great to see children become excited about maths!
Thank you for your great resources!
Kind Regards,

Hayley Dorrstein · Feb 25th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Hayley!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Mar 6th, 2017

Kerry Trawn

Fantastic resources. Makes the vital maths learning fun!

Kerry Trawn · Oct 25th, 2016

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your lovely feedback Kerry! I think it’s important to make it fun for the kids!!!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Oct 25th, 2016

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