About Dotspot Cards

These cards can be used to play games, as an alternative to a pack of standard playing cards, to help reinforce the concept of number for both younger children or for older students who find maths difficult.

Whereas standard playing cards include both number patterns and numerals on them, these are specifically designed to be numeral free which forces the players to pay attention to the patterns in order to recognise each number. The skill of recognising number patterns can be reinforced by playing dice games, using a standard 6-spot dice but these cards allow this skill to be extended to numbers up to 10.

The advantage to learning about numbers this way is that the different ways in which each number is made up (number bonds) becomes visually apparent and is not reliant upon verbal memory. The link between addition and subtraction is also visually clear in a way that working with abstract numbers and signs is not. For instance just by looking at the “5” card it is possible to see that 4 spots and 1 spot make 5 spots altogether and that if you have 5 spots and cover one of them you are left with 4. This is not visually apparent by just looking at the digit, “5”.


Have fun!

Build up to recognition of each of the cards by just using the numbers up to 5 first and then gradually introducing the others one at a time

Be creative and make up your own games and activities

Cover up a section of the card to help make smaller numbers hiding inside more visible

Encourage reasoning and calculation skills.


With the exception of very young children, don’t allow “counting all” to determine the number of spots on a card.

Game ideas for card recognition:

Snap, lotto, number runs, go fish, slow/fast red-hot spots

Game ideas for practicing number bonds:

Triangles, clear the deck, banking tens, 5+

Games for calculations:

Blackjack, Make Ice, Big range/Little range, Near-Double Trouble

Games for understanding place value:

Top-Trump place value, biggest / smallest dash, Just-Beat-The-Target, Mind Reader.

(Many thanks to Ronit Bird for allowing me to use some game ideas from her books)

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