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Hungry Monster

Practice recognizing numbers and comparing. Be careful—the hungry monster eats the highest card!

Ages: 3-6
Players: 2
Time: 10-20 Minutes
Type: number games
Location: tabletop
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Ages: 3-6
Players: 2
Time: 10-20 Minutes
Type: number games
Location: tabletop

Instructions

This game uses the deck you made or printed out in our Number Deck activity. (See Variations below to use other cards.) You'll also need an envelope, markers, and scissors to make your hungry monster. Seal the envelope, then cut off a square end.

Cutting a sealed envelope in half
Opening up half of the envelope

Draw a mouth and an eye.

Half an envelope with a mouth and eye drawn on

Cut out the triangular part of the mouth.

Cutting out the mouth from the half envelope

Color the inside of the envelope red.

Coloring the mouth of the hungry monster red

Meet the hungry monster.

The hungry monster made from half an envelope
As far as monsters go, it looks pretty friendly!

Now, shuffle the Number Deck well, and deal the entire deck face down between the two players. The hungry monster is placed in between.

Cards dealt face down on either side of the hungry monster

Each player turns over their top card, and says the number of their card out loud.

The cards are turned over and compared

Whoever played the biggest card turns the hungry monster to face their card, then feeds it to the hungry monster.

The hungry monster eats the higher value

The other player collects their card.

If both players put down a card of the same number, the hungry monster gets confused and doesn't eat anything. Each player collects their card.

Play until no cards are left, then count the cards that didn't get eaten.

Counting the cards to see who has more

Whoever has the most cards wins!

Your hungry monster also works as a great card carrier!

The hungry monster with all the cards inside

Don't forget: it's Beast Academy Playground, not Beast Academy Study Hall. Change the rules, be silly, make mistakes, and try again. The Variations and Learning Notes are here for you if you want to dive deeper, but not all of them apply to learners of every age. The most important thing is to have fun.

Variations d

Tie Pile-Up:

When both players put down a card with the same number, leave them there, then put down a new card on top. Whoever puts down the higher card, feeds both of their cards to the monster, and the other player collects and keeps both of their cards. If there is more than one pair of tying cards in a row, the cards pile up until, eventually, one player puts down a higher card and has to feed their entire pile to the monster.

Choose Wisely:

Players start the game by drawing a hand of 3 cards from their pile. The youngest player chooses one of their cards to lay down. Then the oldest player responds by choosing one of their cards to put down. Then, as with the standard game, the player who put down the highest card feeds it to the monster, and the other player collects their card to keep. Each player then draws a card from their pile to replenish their hand to 3 cards.

After the first turn, the player who keeps their card will be the first to lay down a card from their hand on the next turn. As with the standard version, whoever has the most cards at the end wins.

Addition Scoring:

Instead of counting cards at the end, each player adds up the total value of their cards. Whoever has the highest total wins.

Number Deck Alternatives:

Our Number Deck activity shows how to make, print out, or purchase a deck like the one used for this game. But, you could also use standard playing cards (remove the Aces and face cards), UNO cards, or other game cards. Your child will still get a chance to compare values and recognize numerals.

Classroom Tips d

Whether students make their own decks or you have a class set (see Variations) they'll enjoy making the monster for this game. Practice subitizing and comparing, and introduce the inequality symbol.

Discussion Questions

  • Which suits make it easiest to recognize numbers quickly?
  • Are there numbers you can recognize in the Dots suit without counting?
  • Can you say a complete sentence using the numbers on the two cards and "less than" or "greater than"? (i.e. 4 is less than 7, and 7 is greater than 4.)
  • Does the monster's mouth face the bigger number or smaller number?
  • What mental math strategies do you use to add up your cards? (see Variations)

Alignment with Beast Academy Curriculum

  • Level 2, Chapter 2: Comparing
  • Level 2, Chapter 8: Strategies (+ & -)

See Variations and Learning Notes for more ideas on how to adapt this activity and incorporate it into your classroom.

Learning Notes d

Greater Than:

The hungry monster's mouth forms a "greater than" sign (or a "less than" sign, depending on which way you're viewing it from). These symbols are used to compare two values in math. When comparing 8 and 10, for example, we might write 8 < 10, which is read "eight is less than ten," or write 10 > 8, which is read "ten is greater than eight." One way to remember which way the sign should point is to imagine it's a mouth. Of course that mouth will want to eat the bigger number! Notice that, as you play Hungry Monster, you are forming these kinds of math statements.

Hungry monster making a greater than sign between a 10 and an 8
Can you see 10 > 8 hiding in there?

Recognizing Numbers:

At first, children may need to count to recognize the number of the Dots, Tally Marks, and Ten Frames. That's fine. Count along with them if they need help. In time, they will be able to look at a card and recognize the number of dots instantly. The Dots suit has specific patterns to recognize. The Tally Marks and Ten Frames organize numbers into two groups of 5. This helps kids notice that 5, for example, is one filled-out row on a Ten Frame, and 10 is two filled-out rows. 4 is one less than a whole row whereas 6 is one more than a whole row. When a child is able to recognize a number very quickly, ask, "How did you know that so quickly? You didn't even have time to count!" and let them explain.

Comparison:

Can your child find a way to see who has more cards without counting? This can be done using a matching strategy. Line up all of one player's cards, then line up all of the other player's cards next to them, so each of one player's cards is paired with one of the other player's cards. If every card has a match, then both players have the same number. If one player has some cards that can't be paired, they must have more cards.

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Materials
  • Number Deck or other playing cards
  • envelope
  • markers
  • scissors
Learning Goals
  • comparison
  • recognizing numbers
  • counting
  • addition
Common Core Standards
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Image of Ms. Q

Ready to level up?

Keep problem solving with Beast Academy’s full math curriculum for students ages 7–13. Check out our captivating comic book series and immersive online platform.

LEARN MORE

Bring problem-solving to your classroom

Keep your entire class engaged with a full book and online math curriculum, for students ages 7–13. 98% of teachers say they’re satisfied with Beast Academy.

LEARN MORE
Image of a BA book