Countdown Games for Kids

Written by jim radenhausen
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Countdown Games for Kids
Kids can practice speed and numbers skills by playing countdown games. (countdown image by Adrian Hillman from

Kids open themselves up to an array of educational possibilities after they learn how to count. Once they grasp counting and learn mathematical operations, kids may enjoy playing games that involve countdowns. Countdown games give kids an opportunity to complete a task within a specified time frame or practice skills such as solving math equations.

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Alphabet Countdown Games

Kids may practice the alphabet by playing two countdown games at the British Council site. For the "Alphabet Countdown Game," players have 30 seconds to click on letters in their alphabetical order.

In the "Animal Countdown Game," players help find the animals that have escaped from the zoo. Players click on animal images via alphabetical order. For example, players start by clicking the animal that begins with "A," followed by "B" and so forth.

Car Game Countdown

Lengthy car rides provide a challenge for kids to keep busy. Rand McNally's "Car Game Countdown" travel game offers an 18-games-in-one solution. Kids play games such as "I Saw It First," "Backseat Hot Potato," "Photographic Memory" and "Who's Driving?" within the specified time that appears on laminated game cards. Kids set the timer on a car-shaped digital timer, and move on to the next game once the time elapses. Kids also may use the timer to count the minutes until the family makes its next stop while on the road, or to set time limits for other games they play.

4-Way Countdown Board Game

Kids try to flip up all their number keys before all opponents when playing Cadaco's "4-Way Countdown" board game, recommended for ages 6 and up. After rolling two dice, players take the rolled numbers and add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers to get a number from 1 to 10. Some numbers may not work for all four operations. For instance, a player only may add or subtract a "3" and a "5," and flip up either the "8" or "2" key.

If players roll a double "6," they must flip all keys back down and start over. Should players roll a "5" and a "6," they may count the result as 11 or a "1." If players choose 11, they force opponents of their choice to flip all of their keys back down and start over.

Younger kids who only know addition either add the two rolled numbers or use both numbers to flip two keys. For example, if a player rolls a "5" and a "3," she could add the two numbers and flip the "8" key, or flip up the "5" and "3" keys. Outside of rolling a double, players cannot opt to use one number on a turn. For instance, if a player rolls a "3" and a "5," and previously flipped the "5" and "8" keys, the player cannot flip the "3" key on that turn. If a player rolls two "3's" and the player previously flipped the "6" key, the play may flip over the "3" key.

Mad Money Game

Kids count down the days as they try saving enough money to buy items for PBS Kids' "Mad Money" game. Before the game begins, players choose an item that they want to buy and must save sufficient funds before the 30 days elapse. While players receive a weekly £9 allowance, they must purchase all items on their shopping list, which they do by clicking the appropriate shops. If players make wise buying decisions, they earn bonus days; if they make unwise choices, they lose days off of their 30-day countdown. For moneymaking opportunities--which result in days taken off the countdown--players click flashing dollar bills. Kids keep track of how many days remain by looking at the bottom left of the screen.

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