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Can you really have fun as you learn about chemistry? {FREE Game}

July 15, 2015 4 min read

Add some fun to your homeschool science curriculum with this free chemistry game!

Learn about atoms and isotopes with this free game for chemistry!

Earlier this month, we shared the basics of teaching chemistry at home. Now, we want to share a super fun game you can use to learn about atoms and isotopes!

Atoms and Isotopes Game Directions

We had a blast playing this game as a family, even our 5-year-old understood how to play. It’s a great way to sneak in some super-fun review after you have learned about atoms and isotopes!


  • Blue, brown, and red colored beads or mini-M&M’s (each player will need about 15 of each color)
  • Atoms & Isotopes Game Board, Cards, and Player Cards (Download for Free)

How to Play

1. Set up the game.
  • Sort the beads or mini-M&M’s into the three piles on the game board – electrons (blue), protons (red), and neutrons (brown).
  • Place the game cards in the provided square.
  • Choose to do an easy game (hydrogen card) or a challenging game (nitrogen card). Hand the appropriate player card to each player.
2. Read the rules of the game. 
  • Electrons go on the circles marked with an “e” on the player card, protons go on the circles marked with a “p”, and neutrons go on the circles marked with an “n” on the player card.
  • Players can fill the space on either atom until both are complete. If they do not have space for the subatomic particle they have chosen, the particle is placed in their holding tank at the bottom of the player card.
  • Players may use the subatomic particles in the holding tank to fill the spaces left when they choose a card that tells them to lose a particle.

3. The youngest player begins the game by choosing a card and then doing what it tells you to do. Once they are done, the player to the right chooses a card and repeats the process.

4. Gameplay continues until someone wins.

    How to Win

    Be the first player to create an atom of each of the stable isotopes on their player card.

    What are atoms and isotopes?

    The Greeks were the first to discuss the concept of an atom.  They believed that matter could be cut into smaller and smaller pieces, but that eventually, you would get to a piece that could not be cut.  So, the word atom comes from the Greek word, atomos, which means “uncuttable”.

    It wasn’t until 1808 that John Dalton, an English scientist, and schoolteacher, developed a theory about how atoms behave.  His theory said that an element is composed of tiny particles called atoms, in an ordinary chemical reaction, no atom of an element disappears and compounds are formed when atoms of two or more elements combine.

    So on the basis of his theory; scientists were now able to say that the atom was the smallest particle of an element.  The modern atomic theory is very similar to what Dalton proposed, except now we know the sub-particles that compose an atom as well as that structure of an atom.  So, let’s take a closer look at the structure of an atom.

    The Structure of an Atom

    The atom is composed of three smaller subatomic particles, called the proton, neutron, and electron.  The proton is a positively charged particle that resides in the nucleus at the center of an atom.  The neutron is a particle with no charge that also resides in the nucleus of an atom.  The electron is a negatively charged particle that resides in a cloud around the nucleus, which is called an electron shell.

    Atoms have an equal number of protons and electrons, which gives them no net charge.  In other words, the positive charges from the protons are canceled out by the negative charges of the electrons within the atom.  Generally, an atom of a given element has the same number of neutrons as protons, but there are exceptions.


    Some atoms have additional neutrons in their nucleus, and we call these atoms isotopes of the element.  These isotopes have the same atomic number, but different atomic mass.  Remember that the atomic number is the number of protons in an element and atomic mass is the total weight of the protons, neutrons, and electrons in an element.  So it makes sense that an isotope would have the same atomic number, but a different atomic mass from the original element.

    Additional Resources

    As you work through this information with your students, you can have them create a narration sheet using the following templates or one of our programs:

    Here are a few yummy atom models you can make with your students:

    Here are a few books you can check out from the library to learn more about atoms:

    • What Are Atoms? (Rookie Read-About Science) by Lisa Trumbauer
    • Atoms and Molecules (Building Blocks of Matter) by Richard and Louise Spilsbury
    • Atoms (Simply Science) by Melissa Stewart

    Have you played this game? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

    10 Responses

    Paige Hudson
    Paige Hudson

    December 09, 2019


    Sounds like you guys had fun and what a great idea! If you have Instagram, share a pic and tag us (@elementalscience) so we can see what you guys created.



    December 09, 2019

    I just played this with my 7 year old and 4 year old as an add on to the week 2 Chemistry lessons from your Grammar Stage Chemistry. We loved it but wished that there were more cards of other isotopes. I plan to make a few more since they are currently building their own atoms and isotopes (7yo has made flourine, neon, sodium and magnesium so far, while 4yo is just making a pile of disorganized subatomic particles) but they are using all the right terminology! ;-) I wish I could share some pictures with you so you can see your creation in action! Thank you for this fun educational activity!

    Paige Hudson
    Paige Hudson

    December 11, 2018

    Ela – Glad you guys enjoyed the game!


    December 11, 2018

    I played it in school, it was a great lesson. In the end, everybody understood what isotopes are. Thanks for sharing it!

    Paige Hudson
    Paige Hudson

    December 01, 2017

    Carolina – that’s wonderful! Games are a great way to cement some of the more difficult to remember concepts into our students’ brains.

    Carolina Cervelló Garcia
    Carolina Cervelló Garcia

    November 30, 2017

    I payed with my middle school students, and they really loved it! I think they will never forget the concept of an isotope, sometimes it’s difficult.

    Paige Hudson
    Paige Hudson

    August 17, 2017

    Pamela – Thank you for sharing! I’m glad to see that you guys had a deliciously fun learning experience :-)!

    Pamela Ward
    Pamela Ward

    August 16, 2017

    My 3rd grade daughter and I played this game using M and M’s, as depicted in the picture on this website. This was a fun game for her, and it helped her understand the subatomic particles. It was also tasty after we finished the game!


    October 05, 2015

    You are welcome Miss Cari!

    Miss Cari
    Miss Cari

    October 04, 2015

    I have been looking for a creative way to teach this concept to my class. Thank you for creating a fun and hands on way to present it.

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