The Card Game War with Speed! Cards

The simplicity of the card game War makes it a great first math game for kids. After they have mastered the basics of greater than less than through play, using a deck of Speed! cards instead of a normal deck, adds a perfect amount of challenge.

Speed! cards were designed to teach skip-counting. A box of Speed! comes with eight decks of cards each focused on a different number. For example, the Two-Speed! deck contains the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20. There are four cards of each number for a total of 40 cards in the deck.

Playing War with the deck of Two-Speed cards introduces children to place value through a greater set of numbers. Moving onto Three-Speed, which includes the numbers 3-30 counted by 3's increases the difficulty even more. Mixing two or more decks of Speed! cards together creates a game of War like none ever played before. Kids love this new twist to a favorite game.

In the above example War is being played with a deck of Six-Speed cards. The 2 in 24 is larger than the 1 in 18, but the 8 in 18 is greater than the 4 in 24. By playing this game the child learns that the 2 in 24 is the most important digit when determining which is the greatest.

Adding War
Many educators play Adding war with their students because it teaches addition in a fun way. Instead of flipping one card as in War, players flip two cards and the player with the greater total takes both.

In case of a tie each player flips two additional face down cards and two additional face up cards. The player with the higher total of face-up cards takes all the played cards. The first player to gain all the cards is the winner.

Like playing War with a deck Speed! cards, Adding War with Speed! adds a whole new dimension to the game. It's a great way to get a mental math workout. Instead of adding mostly single digit numbers, the difficulty increases significantly because players frequently add two digit numbers to determine the winner of the round.
After playing several rounds of adding war with the same deck of cards number sense begins to develop naturally. In the above example 18+54 < 42+36 or 72 < 78. Another way many players begin to think about the above example is 3 sixes + 9 sixes < 6 sixes + 7 sixes, in other words, 12 sixes < 13 sixes or 12*6 < 13*6.

The point is that through play the kids begin to think and develop a deeper understand of numbers and what's actually happening.

Math through play is the best way! To see more ways to use Speed! cards please visit my Speed! Page.

This post is linked to:
Montessori Monday
Relentlessly Fun
Kids Crafts
After School
We Made That 
Works for Me Wednesday 

True Aim Education

Funky Polkadot Giraffe


  1. That's a great idea! You could do subtraction as well. We do subtraction war with our 0-10 RightStart math cards deck, and we just always choose to subtract the smaller number that we draw from the larger number. Sometimes we play that the winner of the battle is the one with the smaller result of their subtraction problem!

    We have done multiplication war with two single digit cards flipped up each time as well...I can't quite imagine being able to multiply two, two digit numbers quickly enough mentally to do "multiplication war" with the speed cards though!

    Division War seems tricky though...I am not quite sure how that would work!

    1. Subtraction War sounds good. I thought about multiplication War when writing this post, but thought it sounded pretty complicated. Maybe the deck could be separated into some cards with single digits and some with double, so the multiplication would be easier? We will have to try it when school starts. As for division war - each deck is a multiple of a number - playing division war with a Three Speed deck, maybe the cards could be divided by three? I've thought about it a little, but not enough to have a detailed way to play. It's another thing for us to work on when school starts.

  2. I love math games! Thanks for sharing at the After School linky.


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