A simple 9-box of index cards and a series of doodles is the simple launching pad needed for this activity that will teach kids any kind of basic math you wish — addition, subtraction, multiplication — while spontaneously encouraging their creativity and imagination. This is the intersection of art and math!

What You’ll Need

  • Index cards, Post-Its notes, etc.
  • Pencils
  • Marker
  • Tape
  • Wall or poster board
PBS-Parents-Intersection-of-Art-and-Math_Art Starters

Getting Started

First things first, decide on your top and side line numbers. I chose to keep it simple for my 2nd grader still learning her multiplication tables and arranged them as 1, 4, 5 on top and 2, 3, 6 on the side, thus avoiding duplicate solutions!


Next, on nine separate index cards, write nouns and solutions for all of the multiplication problems.


Now make starting doodles in marker on 9 blank index cards and arrange them in the box evenly.


How To Play

Fold up the 9 noun/solution cards and place them into a hat. Have your kids take turns picking a card at random. Ask them to solve for the sum on their card (6, for example would be in the box at the intersection of the ‘1’ on top and the ‘6’ on the side (as my oldest daughter demonstrates above). They must now draw that noun on the index card in the proper position on the grid, using the doodle in marker as a starting point, as she does below with the ‘Cat, Sum = 30’ card, on the bottom right card of the nine box grid where ‘5’ and ‘6’ intersect.


My youngest daughter then drew a bike on the index card positioned in the 4 x 2 spot.


While they are having loads of fun using their imaginations and being super creative with their art, your kids will be learning some basic math equations too. And there’s nothing better than having a good time while subtly being a scholar!

Bonus Time

Rearrange the cards with the highest numbers on the top and smallest numbers on the side and make the math portion all about subtraction. Additionally, an easy switch to addition makes this spontaneous art and math activity perfect for even kindergartners just learning the basics of 2+2.

More Adventures in Learning

About Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle is an at-home dad who writes humorously about parenting and All Things Childhood on his site Out With The Kids. He is married to an adorable redheaded gal and has two lovely little ladies 12 and under who provide him with countless hours of humorous in-home entertainment, and who get to hear, see, and play with more cool stuff than you can possibly imagine.

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