Target Number: A Card Game to Practice Math Facts

Target Number is a two player card game to reinforce basic operations. Please scroll down for the video version of the game instructions.

Object: to be the first to spell the word “TARGET.”

Materials: a deck of cards with J, Q, and K’s removed


  • Remove the Jacks, Queens, and Kings from a deck of cards and shuffle well.
  • The dealer deals three cards to each player.
  • The dealer then flips a card over and places it in the center. This is the target number.
  • At the same time, players turn over their three cards and lie them face up on the table. The goal is to use those three cards to hit the target number.
  • For example, if the target number is 10, and a player has a 4, 5, and 9, he could use the equation: “9+5-4.”
  • If a player can make the target number, he writes a “T” on his paper.
  • Both players then “sweep” their cards to the side, along with the target number card. The dealer then deals another hand and play continues.

If neither player can make the target number, a fourth card is dealt to each player. Now players can use 3 of the 4 cards to make the target number. Cards continue to be dealt until one player can make the target number.

The goal is to be the first player to spell TARGET.

Helpful Tip:

It is helpful to use two decks so that you have more cards to play with. Decks do not need to be complete.


Watch the video version of the game explanation here:


Download the printable game instructions HERE.


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