Math is child’s play with 5 apps, but fun for adults, too
Apps and computer games add a fun element to practicing key math skills. Here are some we enjoyed that were designed for children.
Can adults enjoy a kids game? How “adult” is Candy Crush?
■ Dragonbox Big Numbers: In a whimsical land of Noomia, collect resources, add them, regroup and subtract when you buy supplies to accomplish various tasks. As you progress, new areas and challenges unlock, and numbers get larger.
Skills: addition, subtraction, grouping
Why we like it: It’s a unique and fun next step for those who have mastered basic addition and subtraction.
Leveling up slowly and working with amounts as items and as numerals helps you master the skills no matter your learning style. The gradual addition of worlds and challenges offsets the repetition of collecting resources and practicing skills.
■ Marble Math by ArtGig: In this fantastic app, you see problems — such as “Collect fractions that add up to 2” — at the top of the screen and then navigate through a maze with a marble to pick up answers.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, Roman numerals, decimals, negative numbers and more
Why we like it: The tricky mazes are fun to solve.
Users customize the experience by selecting their level of difficulty, the skills they want to focus on, and more. They get good feedback and help; the “show me” button lets them see the correct maze pattern and math answer.
Cost: $2.99 on Amazon. com and Google Play, $3.99 on iTunes
■ Motion Math Cupcake: For their new bakery, users must design, name and make cupcakes. As they take orders and deliver them, they do the basic math that comes with the territory of buying and selling.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, arithmetic, counting, fractions, graphing
Why we like it: Math skills are baked right into the activities. Placing kids in a business setting shows how math skills are useful in real life. The varied activities keep it interesting as the game grows more challenging.
After you beat the game once, you can play again with a Loan Shark option that gives you money upfront but then demands it back.
■ Prodigy Math Game: After choosing an avatar, earn spells by completing math problems and then use the spells to defeat monsters. Along the way you can earn other rewards, and the game adapts to the player’s skill level.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, counting, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, numbers, probability, ratio, statistics
Why we like it: Using the math to propel the game is motivating. The game covers a variety of math concepts within the look and feel of an adventure.
Cost: There’s some in-app pressure to subscribe (levels begin at $11.99), but the game can be played for free online and on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
■ Sushi Monster from Scholastic: Kids playing Sushi Monster work in reverse to solve addition and multiplication problems. Each round begins with a set of target numbers. The chef puts numbered plates of sushi on the counter, and the user must choose the correct combination of plates to meet the target, thereby feeding the sushi monster.
Skills: addition, multiplication
Why we like it: With engaging characters and achievable rewards, users could easily get hooked and in the process learn their addition and multiplication tables.