Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



Uno Math

Children will practice sorting not-number cards from number cards and increase number sense
by identifying similar numbers, one below a number and one above a number.

Content Area Standard Target
  • Number and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions
  • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
  • Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships
  • Develop understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
  • Model situations that involve the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, using objects, pictures and symbols
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • A deck of Uno cards.  You might want to combine 2 decks depending on how many children you have playing the game.
  • Chart paper and marker

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. Explain that today, the children are going to learn a card game about numbers.  Ask if any of the children play cards.  And if so, what types of card games do they play?
  2. Explain ordinal  numbers to the children.  List numbers 1 – 10 on the chart paper.  Ask questions that elicit responses about the order of the number sequence.  Say: “Let’s count the numbers we see up here on the board.  0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  Good.  These numbers are in order.  The 2 comes after the 1.  The 7 comes before the 8.  There is a sequence, an order of the numbers 0 -10.”
    : “What number comes after the number 5?”  Say: “Six.  Good.  5, 6, 7, 8…"
    Ask: “What number comes before the number 9?”  Say: “Eight. Good.  8, 9, 10.”
  3. Explain that today’s game is all about identifying same numbers and numbers that come before and after on the number line.
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. First, have the children sort the number cards from the non-number cards.  Set aside the non-number cards (the Skips, Draws and the Wild) and play with just the number cards.
  2. Deal out about 5 cards per person (play with the cards facing in the open face position because it can be difficult for small children to hold many cards in their hand), and set out a draw pile (face down) and a play pile (face up).
  3. Explain that this game is called, “Up, Down or Stay the Same.” 
  4. To play, look at the card on top of the play pile. Each player may place a card that is up (one bigger), down (one smaller) or stays the same as the visible card.  You can use the 0 card to be both 0 and 10, so that the number sequence is cyclical and there are always 3 potential cards that can be played.  Start off taking turns and the child who gets rid of all his/her cards first, wins.

Additional Extensions

  • Once the children get the hang of the game, it can turn to everyone just playing a card when they can. The children draw one more card if nobody is able to play. 
  • There are many different math games you can play with Uno Cards –

Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Ordinal – Numbers that show the place or position (e.g., "The number 0 is the first number in our sequence.")
  • Sequence – An ordered set of numbers, shapes or other mathematical objects arranged according to a rule (e.g., "The number 2 comes before the number 3 in our number sequence.")
  • Number line – A line marked with numbers (e.g., "Explain that today’s game is all about identifying same numbers and numbers that come before and after on the number line.")
  • Sort – To separate items according to a given attribute (e.g., "First, have the children sort the number cards from the not-number cards.")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Have difficulty with the “up and down” of the game.
  • Have trouble identifying numbers in the number line sequence.


Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Already be able to identify the number sequence and which number, 0-10, comes in the correct order.

Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children match similar numbers or play with matching colors.  “If you have a red card, you may put it down on the discard pile.”


Home child care providers may:

  • Pick up the speed of the game and change the rules so that everyone is just playing a card when they can. The children draw one more card if nobody is able to play. 
  • Keep the Wildcards in the deck.  Play just one direction, starting at 0 and then discarding cards in ascending order.  If a player does not have the correct number card then they may use a Wildcard or draw another card.  When using the Wildcard, the player needs to identify which number they are playing.  You can play this in ascending or descending order.


Books Books
  • Construction Countdown by K.C. Olsen (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2004)
  • A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure by Angeline Sparagna Lopresti (Boston: Charlesbridge Pub Inc., 2003)
  • Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2001)
Music and movement Music and Movement
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • Play Red Rover using numbers

    Red Rover rules:  At least 6 people, divided into two equal teams

    Two teams line up opposite each other, no more than 30 feet apart. The first team agrees to call one player from the opposite team, and chants, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send (a number. Give each child a number and they need to remember and respond to that number) on over!" The person/number called runs to the other line and attempts to break the chain (formed by the linking of hands). If the person called fails to break the chain, this player joins the team that called Red Rover. But, if the player successfully breaks the chain, he may capture either of the two players whose link was broken by the dash, and bring them back to his original team. Teams take turns calling out Red Rover and challenging a player on the opposing team.  Depending on the outcome of the turn, you will need to recount and give the players new numbers after every turn depending on whether you gain or lose a player.

    The objective of the game is to end with the most players on your team by maintaining the integrity of your chain. The game ends when all the players end up on one side.
    While the game's objective is keeping the chain intact, players holding on too tightly might cause injury to players in the chain-links or to the runner. Remember, it's just a game!


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