4 August 2019

Two Maths Apps for Children

A little while ago I had a comment on my blog from a parent who asked if I could recommend some apps for their children. I couldn't at the time, but now I can. I recently did some work researching some of the best apps related to maths, logic and problem solving for all Key Stages (from age four through to eighteen). There are many! In the process of doing this research I downloaded some brilliant apps for my own children to try out. My daughters Maddie (7) and Hettie (5) got to be my guinea pigs, and thankfully they really loved the apps I chose for them. I've decided to write about two of my favourite apps here. This is the first time I've written a post aimed at parents rather than teachers. Note that I bought these apps myself - no one has paid me to promote their app (I don't do that!).

As I write this post my five year old is sitting next to me playing Thinkrolls. She loves it! Every now and then she asks me to give her a hint when she gets stuck. I try not to give her a hint - I know she can work every level out herself, once she's had a think about it. Thinkrolls is a beautiful little game and absolutely perfect for her age. Easy mode is aimed at three to five year olds and hard mode is for ages five to eight. The idea is to move cute little characters around mazes. It takes logic and creative thinking. It's super fun, and well worth the £3.99.
I've always been really hesitant about paying for apps but now I realise that's a bit silly - I buy books and board games, I rent films and subscribe to Netflix, I pay for swimming lessons and Kung Fu and so on - so I'm not sure why I thought that I shouldn't spend £3.99 on a clever little educational app.

I'm very pleased to see that the developer of Thinkrolls has a number of similar apps so that when we finish the first Thinkrolls we can try another one in the series. 

Slice Fractions
My seven year old has been playing Slice Fractions. This is directly related to the maths curriculum but I don't think she thinks of it as a maths game. To her it's just a game involving woolly mammoths in funny hats.
She's done a little bit of work on fractions at school but she's very much a novice. As soon as the app introduced fraction notation she started to find it a bit tricky because she doesn't know the basic concepts (eg what a quarter is), but she's not been put off. She loves it and she seems to be picking up the concepts pretty quickly. The makers of this app say that research shows that "Slice Fractions significantly improved students’ performance in a very short amount of time". So perhaps this game will help to develop my daughter's understanding of fractions, as well as giving her opportunities to solve problems and think logically. And even if it doesn't help her understand fractions better, then there's no downside because to her it's just a fun game.

Slice Fractions is £3.99, and there's a sequel (Slice Fractions 2).

If you have children a similar age to mine, I recommend both Thinkrolls and Slice Fractions. In my opinion they're worth buying.

The other maths apps that are really well respected are those from Dragonbox. They have apps for kids from age four up to teenagers (including algebra for both five and twelve year olds). I haven't tried them yet but I've heard they are awesome.

By the way - I haven't featured the brilliant apps Box Island and Sumaze Primary here because I've blogged about them before. I should mention Numberblocks though - they have two lovely apps, one of which is free.

My guinea pigs!


  1. Just like you I have been bizarrely reluctant to pay for apps. But on the recommendation of a friend I bought the dragonbox apps. I have to say I was blown away by how much my six year old enjoyed them. He likes the Numbers one because the way the characters combine reminds him of numberbloks which he loves. It took him about a week of intense effort to complete Big numbers and I don't think he realised how many long addition and subtractions he was doing as well as making best buy choices and understanding a game economy. But I was absolutely blown away the elements game, it starts of simple defining a triangle by three sides but by the final puzzle he was basically constructing a many staged Euclidean proof that most of my year 11 would have struggled to see all the steps of. Very impressed. Looking forward to him trying the apps you've suggested.

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