This is a question frequently posed by parents (and teachers) trying to select the best educational games for their kids, when they need a little boost for their math skills. We will answer all your questions about math games for kids. And, of course, tell you about the best ones, and the best free ones! Many caregivers wonder if these games really increase skills.
The answer is simply yes: don’t worry, math games really do help improve kids’ math skills (especially if they’re online and thus more interactive and colorful than regular, more traditional games). The reasons for that are complex: it’s not just that math games for kids help train them exactly for the problems usually encountered at school, but they also help reduce the children’s anxiety towards math. And many times, it’s precisely that type of anxiety that makes them perform more poorly than they normally would.
In other words, if you’re thinking about trying some math games for kids together with your child, let us assure you that the idea couldn’t be better. Your children’s math learning will definitely get a bit easier afterwards. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of games and resources we think are worth trying, divided by age (grade). But first, here is a quick overview of what science has to say on the matter of math games for kids and their effectiveness.
How Do Math Games for Kids Benefit Them?
Especially for kids who struggle with math or even suffer from dyscalculia (a condition with makes even basic math a bit difficult, much like dyslexia makes reading difficult), math games have been proven to be a great way for the child to overcome all that is holding them back. How does that work? Well, first of all, math games allow children to practice their skills and think about selecting the best strategy for solving a problem without the pressure of being in a formal situation (in school). When playing a game, kids can relax and really focus only on how to play it best, instead of having to worry about other factors like what will the teacher or other kids think.
Second of all, a game is much more interactive than the activities teachers usually do with the children in class, and thus is more effective in mobilizing the child’s resources of solving the problem. Moreover, the game is also better adapted for the child’s individual needs by stimulating them directly and requiring them to solve a task, in contrast with the activities in class which address the whole group of kids and often ignore the ones who may need another approach to unlock their math skills potential. This way, learning becomes easy and cool.
Learning skills beyond numbers
Thirdly, a free online game for math is an excellent educational choice because it is about strategy just as much as it is about sharpening numbers skills. It’s not just a fun distraction, but in some cases, it may just be the best way of overcoming math difficulties (not to mention the anxiety usually experienced by children when they are encountering problems, but they have to perform in class. A fast way to make a kid even more reluctant at trying to solve math’s tasks is to make them feel embarrassed in school about it.
Therefore, this is precisely where well-chosen math games for kids come in, for stimulating the kid to choose between possible strategies outside the context of class pressure. Sooner than you know, your little one will start having math skills come to them by reflex, and will enjoy solving a math puzzle just as much as any other game that makes them happy.
Recommended Math Games for Kids, by Age (Grade)
To cut a long story short, you can only expect good outcomes from giving math games for kids a run together with your child. Here a few places to start your learning adventure:
Math Games for Kindergarten
It’s important to put the basis of future math skills in your child early, which is why kindergarten is an ideal time to start with specialized math games for kids. You can find a collection of suitable online games at education.com, and we recommend starting with Treasure Chest. You can also find this game elsewhere on the internet; since it’s a popular game, many sites host it. The best thing about this game and the other ones tailored for the kindergarten level is that they stimulate the development of related skills as well, not just basic math. Things like visual imagination, spatial orientation, a better 3D sense of objects are only a few of the skills the child will have a go at.
Math Games for 1st Grade
Since this is your child’s first brush with proper school and mathematics, you may want to take things slowly. You can either choose for a printable game, or, if your child is particularly resistant, then you can introduce them to an online game which is a more seductive offer, obviously. A hugely popular game for kids this age is Monster Multiplication, where you need to make all the 12 monsters on the screen disappear by solving some simple math tasks.
Math Games for 2nd Grade
When a child enters the second grade, they are already in year 2 of their school journey and therefore ready for more significant challenges. Try to nurture their skill by offering them some play time with Hooda Math Games (http://www.hoodamath.com/), a virtual collection of over 100 math games for kids of all ages. These include card games, data games, dice games and much more, and with such a variety your kids will be on their way of making math games their number 1 past time. Another popular choice to consider is Happy Wheels, a racing game where the kid needs to solve some basic math problems to advance.
Math Games for 3rd Grade and Beyond
A popular game with kids and parents of virtually any age since the 3rd grade and up is Coffee Shop, which you can find at http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-coffee-shop. In this interactive game, the child needs to learn how to manage their own coffee house, which is tremendously fun but it also makes them have to keep the business’s accounting books. Once your kid reaches grade 3, it’s safe to let them play with every math game they want to try their hand at.
Other useful links and resources:
- Math-games-for-kids.com – a site which is to be popular with parents and teachers;
- Cool math games for kids: a collection of various coll math games for kids of all ages.
- PBS Kids math games: http://pbskids.org/games/math/
- Mike’s math games for kids (a collection of printable games if you wish to limit the kid’s online time): http://www.dr-mikes-math-games-for-kids.com/printable-math-games.html
- Printable board games (not just for math, but a variety of subjects): http://www.education.com/worksheets/printable-board-games/