Sometimes small numbers are harder than big numbers. That’s because kids don’t necessarily learn math in a linear fashion. Child can easily tell if I try to cheat her out of $20 when I owe her $750 in Monopoly rent, but still stumbles over 8+1.
To remedy this, I came up with a simple game I call “Adjacents”. Each player gets four cards, of which they need to make adjacent pairs. The game is short and each round will not take longer than 3-4 minutes, though you can play several rounds.
For example: 4+3 and 2+6 make adjacent pairs (4+3=7 and 2+6=8; 7 and 8 are adjacent numbers).
Deal four cards to each player, which they spread face up before them in any order. They take turns to draw from the deck and discard one of their so that they always have four cards until one player has two adjacent pairs.
The cards are dealt face down in a row. Players may peek at the two outside cards once, and they may obviously look at the cards they draw before placing them face down. This way, players have to remember what they have and mentally check the math.