Spill the Beans

By Activity Bank on Jan 09, 2014

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Mary Jane Clark and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Playing games is an easy way to reinforce important skills. This activity reinforces addition and subtraction, while students practice taking turns. Lessons include Math and Social Skills.


  • Game boards made from heavy cardboard divided into nine three-inch squares
  • Raised dividing lines made by using yarn dipped in glue
  • Tin or plastic can
  • Two dried kidney beans
  • Pegboards and pegs
  • Optional: a timer may be used to limit the playing time


  • This game can be played alone or with a partner.
  • Each player is given a game board divided into nine squares. Each square has a number, from one to nine in the center. The numbers are placed in random order and written in large print and braille. Each game board is different.
  • Each player is given a pegboard to record points.
  • Place two beans in a tin can.
  • Each student takes turns shaking the can and dumping the beans onto his card.
  • The student must then add the two numbers on which the two beans have landed.
  • If the student answers correctly, he places a peg in his pegboard.
  • The student with the most pegs in his pegboard is the winner.


This activity may be played as a subtraction or multiplication game. Follow the same procedure as above. Instead of adding the two numbers, the student must subtract or multiply the two numbers.