Addition and Subtraction Math Game

Addition and subtraction math game for kindergarten and first grade
Lights Out! addition and subtraction math game for kindergarten and first grade

Lights Out is fun addition and subtraction math game you can rotate as a math center all year long. It’s part of my light and sound unit for kindergarten and first grade. Students may play with a partner or in a small group. I’ll even give you some ideas for how you can use the game cards to practice number sense and counting, too!

Lights Out! Addition and Subtraction Math Game


  • Lights Out number cards
  • Black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Stick glue
  • One or two die
  • Pencil (optional)
  • Recording sheet (optional)

Game prep:

  1. Print the number cards and glue them onto black construction paper. 
  2. Cut the cards out and laminate them.  The front of the card shows the bulb and the back of the card is black.
  3. Provide students with one or two die.
  4. Optional recording sheets may be printed and used.

How to play:

  1. Decide if you want students to play with one die or two. See the chart below for details. 
  2. Students each have the exact same set of number cards.  One at a time, a student rolls a die or dice, adds or subtracts the numbers and then turns over the number card with the answer.
  3. Students keep rolling, adding or subtracting and then turning their cards over.  The first student to turn all their cards over, or turn all their lights out, wins!

When subtracting, make sure students know to subtract the larger number from the small number.  If they roll a four and then a six, they will subtract six minus four. I’ve included recording sheets to help students keep track of their number sentences.

Counting and Number Sense

Idea # 1:

  • Place several number cards together in sequence. Turn over a few so that the number isn’t showing. 
  • Have students tell which lights are off (turned over).
  • Count together and turn the lights back on (turn the black cards over when you count that number).

Idea # 2:

  • Place the cards face up so the numbers are showing.
  • Choose a number. Give the student a clue about the number. For example, you might say, “This number is one less than six” or “This number is two more than three”.
  • Have students turn off the light for the number you describe (turn over the card).
  • Keep giving clues until all the lights are out (the cards have been turned over).

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