The mere mention of the word “mathematics” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of adults around the world. For thousands of people, the thought of doing annual tax returns, applying for a mortgage, or even just helping children with their homework can bring them out in an episode of cold sweats and get them running for the nearest calculator.
Luckily their are phone apps to help adults improve, but the long-term solution appears reasonably obvious; children need to be engaged with maths from a young age, making use of tools, games, and apps that make the process of learning arithmetic fun rather than an arduous task.
Here we look at some of the best games to help children learn mathematics in a fun way:
Fraction Flags (Ages 7-9) [No Longer Available]
Fractions can be a fiendishly difficult aspect of maths – they form a key part of basic algebra and underpin a surprising number of real-world situations. Unfortunately, common denominators, improper fractions, and repeating decimals have caused headaches for schoolchildren since the dawn of time, but “Fraction Flags” aims to change that.
The beauty of the game is that it doesn’t really feel like you are working with fractions at all. It revolves around the concept of designing flags with different percentages of colours, thus meaning that the children can get lost in planning wild and wacky designs without being aware that they are also learning.
If you’re a parent, you can grab a print screen of some of their better designs and put them on display to encourage your child further.
BBC School Radio – Maths (Ages 3-11)
The BBC has always produced a wide range of high-quality learning materials across a broad selection of topics for both adults and children – their language learning services are well-renowned. Their BBC School Radio series covers most subjects that children encounter in primary school, but their maths series is particularly well-produced.
There are four audio games available; “Counting Songs” (ages 3-5), “Numbertime” (ages 5-7), “Megamaths” (ages 7-9), and “Maths Challenge” (ages 9-11). Each has an emphasis on fun games and building confidence rather than long, drawn-out lectures, and each episode rewards the children with token achievements and plenty of praise.
Each one can be downloaded as a podcast, so your child won’t be stuck in front of the computer while they are playing the games – it makes them perfect for lengthy car journeys or long-distance flights.
Tables Shooter (Ages 5-11)
What’s 7×8? What about 8×9?! Even as adults a lot of us struggle with quick-fire multiplication sums. You can give your kids a head start by getting them to do mental times-tables from an early age.
Tables Shooter does exactly that. The premise of the game is to “shoot” the right answer by navigating and firing a World War II Spitfire aircraft, and it is a fun distraction that can appeal to a wide age group.
Kids can practice their two- to nine- times tables, but the game does not allow for a mixing of different tables.
Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire? (Ages 10+)
Based on the popular TV show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, the wittily named “Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire?” uses the same premise, with fifteen questions to move players from nothing to a £1,000,000 jackpot.
Like the TV show, the game also features the three “lifelines” (phone-a-friend, 50:50, and ask the audience). Players can take the money at any time, but if they get a question wrong they slide back to their last guaranteed amount (either £1,000 or £32,000).
The questions are not too simple and also include some useful maths-based trivia like “How many years are in a millennium?” and non-arithmetic based questions such as “What is the name for the longest side of a right angled triangle?” and “How many sides does a decagon have?”.
The game involves the concept of winning money, and some of the questions can get quite tricky, so this one isn’t for the youngest crowd. Nonetheless, if you have a young teenager who wants to brush up on their skills this game will keep them entertained as they frustrate themselves in a bid to win a million.
Underwater Counting (Ages 2-5)
This tablet-friendly game is a simple as it sounds – a way to help very young kids become comfortable with using the numbers 1-10. It has two difficulty levels which can be used to match the game to the child’s existing ability, and it’s designed to help them both recognise and use numbers correctly.
The game is based around a treasure hunt; as the children correctly answer questions an on-screen scuba diver becomes closer to discovering the hidden gold. Children must answer ten questions correctly to complete the game.
Dress Up Maths (Ages 8-12)
The idea of this game is to dress a figure up in any way the player chooses with clothes of a particular value, therefore honing your child’s basic addition and subtraction skills (as well as their fashion sense!). The game has ten levels and gets more complicated with each level played, as the value gets higher and the range of clothes available to use becomes greater.
The idea is to dress a figure up in any way the player chooses with clothes of a particular value, therefore honing your child’s basic addition and subtraction skills (as well as their fashion sense!). The game has ten levels and gets more complicated with each level played, as the value gets higher and the range of clothes available to use becomes greater.
The game also has an iPad version, so you kid doesn’t need to sit in front of the computer in order to benefit.
One Step Equation (Ages 10-14)
Algebra might be a child’s biggest mathematical fear, but this basketball-themed game hopes to make it more fun than simply staring at a blackboard all day.
The player has to answer an algebra question, then they get a chance to make a basket. You can put your on screen basketball star anywhere outside the three-point line, then use the cross hairs to try and make the shot.
The best part about this game is that it supports two players, so your kids can practice against their siblings, or you can even get involved yourself to brush up on some of those long forgotten equations!
Which is the best?
Have you played any of these games? Do you think they could help to enthuse your child more than a typical maths lesson? We’d love to hear you thoughts, or better yet, we’d love to hear your child’s thoughts.
Leave us some feedback in the comments below.
Image Credits: Two Young Boys Via Shutterstock