Children’s Games #2: 555 Dominoes

My 6 (nearly 7) year-old son and I made up a new game today. It’s a good math skills game. The game is based on putting tiles down so that the numbers on the tiles add up to multiples of 5.

Skills your child needs to have to play this game

  • Adding 2-3 small double-digit numbers


These are the rules that we found made a game that didn’t drag on, but also meant that the winner wasn’t simply the first person to play. The winner is the first player to get rid of all of their dominoes.


  • Place all the dominoes on the table face down.
  • Each player draws 9 dominoes. Draw a single domino and put it face up in the middle of the table (the 10/10 in my example picture). The youngest player goes first.

Player’s turn

  • To play a tile, there are two options.
  • The first option is to play a single side on a single side already played where the sum of these two sides needs to be a multiple of 5. Examples in the picture include the 0 played next to the 10 on the right-hand side or the 2 played next to the 8 on the middle of the left-hand side of the picture.
  • The second option is to play both sides of a new domino (“sideways”) on a single side already played, where the sum of all three sides needs to be a multiple of 5. There are two examples in the picture: the 7/8 played on the 10 on the left-hand side and the 7/11 played on the 2 at the top.
  • After a player plays a tile, it becomes the other player’s turn.
  • If a player can’t play a tile on their turn, they draw a single tile from the face-down tiles and then it is the other players turn.
  • A sideways domino cannot be played on a sideways domino. For example, a 2/3 tile could not be played sideways on the 7/8 tile at the bottom left. A 3, 8 or 13 could have been played on the 7, or a 2, 7 or 12 could have been played on the 8 as was done.
  • The winner is the first player to play all of their tiles.

Optional Rules

  • Beginner rules – Get rid of all rules that involve sideways placements. That way you are only ever adding two numbers together
  • Sums other than multiples of 5 – Instead of multiples of 5, try multiples of 7 or some other base that is worth practicing with your child.
  • Double sideways – Allow a sideways tile to be played on a sideways tile so that the multiple of 5 comes from summing all 4 sides.

4 Comments on “Children’s Games #2: 555 Dominoes”

  1. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

    this is great! Can you talk more about how you decided on the rules (collaboratively)?

    • Joss Ives says:

      Me: “Hey, do you want to make up rules to a domino game that involves some math?”

      Him: “I love making up rules!”

      I proposed the idea of the domino faces adding up to multiples of 5 and he fleshed most of the rest of rules out based on some vague recollections of other domino games. We played a bunch of games and talked about how the rules were working in terms of how long the game took and how much they hurt our brains and then made small modifications.

      • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

        that’s really cool. I especially like the meta-conversation you were able to have about hurting your brains.

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