‘Make Ten’ – a cooperative card game for years F-7

Make ten is my all-time favourite maths game that kids of different levels can enjoy together. Here’s how to play along with some variations.

How to play Make Ten


  • Players 2-6
  • You need: Partitioning cards
  • Players can have any number of cards each, but I’ve found that 3-5 cards works best


  • The game is played open-handed, so that everyone can see each other’s cards.
  • Played like a team version of “Go Fish”… you have to ask for a player’s card to match with one or more of your cards to give a total of 10. Cards can be added or subtracted, but not multiplied or divided, to leave a total of 10.
  • You ask for the card. The other player asks “how come?”. You explain how you are using their card with yours to make ten.
  • The inclusion of the teen numbers cards forces subtraction as the total always has to be 10, not 20.
  • You always have to use at least 2 cards, one from you and one from someone else.
  • Once you have made a set of 10, those cards are discarded in a common pile and replaced.

How to win:

This is a cooperative game. The aim is to leave as few cards at the end as possible. You “win” if your group uses up all the cards (or change the rules so that you only have 2 cards left etc.).

Added elements for differentiation:

Other players can help someone who is struggling using the following steps…

  1. “I have a card that would match with one (or two) of yours to make ten.”
  2. “This card would match with one (or two) of yours to make ten.”

Players with higher maths knowledge try to use multiple cards in one go (e.g., using 3 of their own plus 1 from someone else), whereas players with lower knowledge might just use 2 cards.

Examples of playing:

Player one could ask for…

  • the 6, to combine with their 4 (6+4=10)
  • the 10, to combine with their 7, 3 and 4 (10+7-3-4=10)
  • the 1, to combine with their 18 and 7 (18-7-1=10)
  • the 2, to combine with all their cards (18-7-3+4-2=10)


I hope you really enjoy playing this game!



Want more? Check out these great articles:

Share the Post:

Related Posts