Monday, January 9, 2012

Fridge Football [a Subtraction Scrimmage Game]

My son is getting pretty good at throwing a spiral and LOVES to support mine and my husband’s alma mater when they take to the field. To give him some subtraction practice, I created a fun magnetic football game.

First, I made and printed a football field onto two pages of sticker paper and attached it to 8 1/2- x 11-inch magnet paper (cost for a 3-pack was about $5 at my local craft store).

Download a 2-page PDF of the football field here.

Then I used one of the spoon-molded plaster shapes I had left over from our Beetle Tic-Tac-Toe and Fireflies addition game to make a football. 

My son painted it with brown acrylic paint and then I added small strips of white paper for the details using mod podge glue. I used super glue to attach two small magnets to the back.

For this 2-player game, I used two buttons with glued-on magnets to represent each player. (There are no “teams” in this game, just two opponents.) Lastly, I made several cards with subtraction problems of varying difficulty. I also added some lose-a-turn (i.e. interception) and penalty cards.

Download a 4-page PDF of the game cards here.

When my son got home from school, he read a fun, Level 1 easy reader, After-School Sports Club: Touchdown! by Alyson Heller.

Let the games begin! I attached the magnetic field to the refrigerator and put the football and players (aka magnetic buttons) on the 50-yard line.

Once the cards were shuffled, I had my son toss a coin to see who went first: him or me. When he won the coin toss, he drew the first card from the pile, answered the problem, and moved his button magnet toward one of the endzones. (Each card displays the number of yards you earn with the correct answer; it's inside a small football in the lower left corner. More yards are earned for harder problems.)

Since the field is marked in increments of two, this proved to be an excellent exercise in skip counting by twos as well as subtraction practice!

The card was returned to the bottom of the pile. Now it was my turn. Play continued like this, with the football being moved next to the button of whoever’s turn it was. My son jumped up and down when either one of us drew the penalty or lose-a-turn cards; he was really into the game!

TOUCHDOWN! Whichever player gets his button (and the ball) into the endzone first wins. We played this game three times, until we finally had to stop so I could start making dinner.

When my husband came home, the first words out of my son’s mouth were, “Dad, can we play our new football game?” They played two MORE rounds after dinner!!


  1. This is such a great idea to get boys (and girls who love football) to practice math facts! LOVE this! Thanks for sharing!

    Oh My Little Classity Class

  2. That is awesome! :) I bet it good be adapted to other interests or themes as well... I'm picturing little aliens trying to get to Mars, now. :)

  3. Really cool! How clever is your boy. What a great way to carry out maths. Do you think yo could apply this idea to other sports? x

  4. Wow awesome way to practice counting by twos and subtraction!

  5. Very neat to take advantage of your child's interests! This game looks very well done!

  6. VERY cool! I am going to tuck this away to do when my son gets older - he will LOVE it!
    Beth (TGIF) =-)

  7. Wow, what a great activity for a sports loving boy!!


  8. Found you on Skip to my Lou. Such a fantastic post! Football is a BIG deal in our house! Would you please share this with our readers for Fun Stuff Fridays?

  9. A great idea for a boy who loves football!

  10. Saw this @ Link n' Learn! Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity!!

  11. p.s I am your newest follower on GFC!

  12. Thanks for linking up both of your ideas at the {Free} Printables Linky Party! I love your ideas, they are always so creative and simple. Great Job!

  13. What a fun way to practice math! I love it.

    I'd love for you to link up and share:

  14. I LOVE this game! It's so very much fun!

  15. best way to learn is to have fun doing it!!
    this is a great math tool for everyone!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow bcd if you can!

  16. Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday
    Hope to see you next time

    Natasha xx

  17. Great idea! I'm sure my son would really like this!

  18. ah, your fun ideas always inspire me! Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you this week.


  19. GREAT IDEA! I am going to adapt this for my son who is older but doing division. I am a homeschool mom always looking for new ideas to keep it fresh. Thanks so much