ping pong math game
Camp PBS Parents

As a kid I loved when the carnival came to town. And in our little town, it came twice. TWICE! Since not much else happened in our sleepy little town, the carnival’s arrival caused quite the stir.

Now, my heightened sense of self-preservation kicked in at an early age. Which means I’ve long preferred midway games to the spinning tilt-a-whirl-of-death. To this day, I can’t walk by a game of skeeball, ping pong toss or balloon pop without feeling wistful.

Today’s Camp PBS Parents activity is inspired by a classic midway amusement—the goldfish game. In this version, we trade geriatric goldfish for a fun math game that won’t end in tears two days later.

You’ll Need:

  • 12 wide mouthed cups
  • Ping pong balls
  • Paper
  • Marker or pen
  • Scissors
  • ping pong math carnival game

    1. Trace the bottom of the cup on cardstock or colored paper.

    A note about cups: Make sure you use cups with a wide mouth. It’s easier to get the ping pong balls into them. I used wide mouthed canning jars because it’s what I had on hand, but plastic or paper cups would work just as well. If the cups tip over, just add a bit of tape to the bottom. It should hold them in place.

    2. Cut out circles.

    3. Write 1-12 on the circles. I made mine fancy by placing a smaller white circle in the middle, but feel free to skip that step.

    ping pong math carnival game by PBS Parents

    4. Place a circle in the bottom of each cup.

    5. Place cups against a wall in a 3 x 4 grid.

    6. Time to play! Toss ping pong balls into the cups then add, subtract or multiply the numbers in the bottom.

    Note about ping pong balls: You can find them in the sports aisle of most big box stores. I found a box of six for less than $2. Score!

    Adventures in Learning ping pong math carnival game

    Easy right? And a nice hands-on alternative to worksheets. Practicing times tables has never been so fun!

    More Adventures in Learning

About Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper is the blogger behind, an online resource for creative families.  Her favorite past times include: dancing around her living room, watching the Pink Panther with her kids and daydreaming. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, photographer Dave Cooper, and two children. 

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