Raise your hand if you love math! Well, let’s just pretend we’re all raising our hands. Love it or loathe it, April is Math Awareness Month and your attitude on the subject is more important than you might think. Many studies have found that a parent’s attitude toward math has a major impact on a student’s view of math. So all those “I hated math when I was a kid” and “I was never any good at math” comments matter. This study even found that “parents’ beliefs were more directly related to children’s self-concepts and expectancies than were the children’s past performances in math.” So instead of bemoaning your child’s fraction homework or reliving your own math troubles as a child, try out some of these games, apps and websites to make math fun for the whole family. Who knows – you might even like it!
There are lots of great math apps out there. Here are a few of my family’s favorites.
A silly introduction to numbers for toddlers: I recently tried out Endless Numbers which has fun graphics, silly sound effects and different activities to help toddlers become familiar with numbers and counting. The free download gives you numbers 1-5; download the full game to get up to 25. (free or $3.99 for full game)
Another cute one for toddlers is Bugs & Numbers. It has realistic bug graphics and 18 different games that work on number recognition, matching, measuring, comparison, early fractions and more. My 3-year-old was thoroughly entertained. One thing to note – if you’re looking for directions, just wait a few seconds before clicking the “PLAY” button to start the game to see visual instruction. You may want to help your little one the first few times understand what they are supposed to do. ($2.99)
When your child needs another explanation: I love the smart design of the Khan Academy website for helping kids (and parents!) understand math concepts from basic addition to calculus. Each topic is divided into sub-components with a combination of clear and simple video explanation and practice problems. It’s a smartly-designed, self-paced way to learn about math as well as finance, humanities, science, computing and more. Highly recommended if you child isn’t understanding a specific concept or if you’re looking to brush up. (There’s also a free Khan Academy app.)
If your child learns better from peers: A friend recently told me about Math Train TV, a free “kids teaching kids” website run by a middle school teacher in Santa Monica, CA. There you can find dozens of videos on middle school math concepts like fractions, geometry, exponents and more explained by middle schoolers. The video editing is a bit rough and there’s a decent amount of background noise, but if your child is tired of listening to adults explain math concepts, it might be worth a try.
If your child is always thinking about food: My kids are always hungry and so they share an understanding with the monster in Sushi Monster who needs to get fed. This Scholastic app lets kids practice addition and multiplication facts by figuring out which two numbers you should add/multiply together to feed the Sushi Monster his target. (free)
For games that are heavy on the fun factor: I was skeptical about how educational these games were when I saw how eager my 7-year-old was to play them, but ABCYA.com has a wide collection of math and letter games for grades K-5. It’s free, the games are relatively short, and they provide a fun way to work on specific math concepts. I also like that the games narrate the directions aloud for pre-readers.
If your child likes Scrabble: Go Sum is like math Scrabble. Instead of using letters to build words off each other, you use numbers and math signs to form equations. It uses addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and is a unique way to practice math facts. (free or upgrade for ad-free)
To work on your math speed: My boys love to play the eight different math games at Meerkat Math. You have to answer math questions quickly to help your meerkat win the race, chase or hunt. Good for kids who are working on the speed of their reply and thrive on competition. (addition is free or $4.99 for full game)
Have a favorite math apps? Tell us in the comments below!
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