Learning math involves many hours of practice and repetition to establish a good foundation on which to build more difficult concepts. Using games for math learning offers a way to add entertainment and variety into learning the basic principles that many children find challenging and sometimes frustrating. Math games are also an excellent resource for children to use at home to reinforce new learning and skills and practice fundamentals, and because they are fun, they can be used as rewards.
Below are online resources offering math games for fluency and math practice for the young child from preschool through grade three. In reviewing the vast number of online math game resources, ranking consideration was based on ease of website use and clarity of instructions, aesthetic appeal of website design and use of graphics, depth of resources and number of math problems or activities on the website, and finally, value, if there was a required subscription fee.
15. Adapted Mind
Adapted Mind features lessons and games for both math and reading. Math exercises cover material appropriate from grade 1 through grade 8, with topics ranging from counting, telling time, addition and subtraction, multiplication, introductory geometry, and decimals. There are hundreds of lessons at each grade level, and while the graphics are eye catching and appealing to the young child, the absence of instructions can make playing the games a bit confusing for even an adult. There is a paid version that involves a membership and access to additional resources that may be more comprehensive with instructions. A nice feature is that the free version allows for the ability to create an account and save progress for future use.
14. Math Goodies
Math Goodies offers interactive games, lessons, and puzzles for kindergarten through grade 5, free of charge. Some examples of material covered include addition and subtraction, decimals, graphs, and word problems. Worksheets can also be downloaded for continued practice. A nice feature of some games is the ability to indicate a difficulty level from easy, medium, and hard, as well as access solutions to problems and search for specific content. Of course, a child may take advantage of the opportunity to choose the easiest setting and not review more challenging material, so parents will want to monitor use of the site. The website design is a bit jumbled with advertising, an email signup, and numerous links to content both onsite and offsite. Regardless of the design, the site contains a robust amount of information that may simply require a little more patience in locating all of it and ignoring the advertising.
13. Kids Numbers
Designed by teachers, Kids Numbers presents a fun, interactive resource for young children to learn and strengthen math skills. Early math foundations are presented for number recognition and counting, addition and subtraction of single digits working up to mixed integers, multiplication, and division. As an bonus, the language setting can be adjusted so children can learn numbers and count in other languages. While website access and features are free, there is a paid version that offers additional functionality and more customized settings.
12. Fun Brain
Among the many learning resources on Fun Brain is a math arcade with games organized by grade level from kindergarten through grade 8. Younger children can play games with a parent in the "Moms and Kids Playground" section. One downfall of Fun Brain is the heavy presence of ads promoting Poptropica, a virtual world game requiring a subscription purchase.
11. Toy Theater
Toy Theater offers free interactive games for several subject areas, including math. Games are arranged by subject area and grade level, with difficulty appropriate for the preschool to early elementary age child. Math content is focused on core competencies and early foundations, including matching, patterns, simple counting, and identifying greater than and less than values.
10. Hooda Math
Hooda Math was developed by a middle school math teacher. The website features more than 700 math games that organized into categories for logic, geometry, and basic arithmetic. The site is simple, no fuss and covers a broad range of math concepts in a fun manner.
9. Math Slice
Math Slice offers interactive math games from the traditional Chess and Bingo to the more recent popular games like Guitar Hero and Math Millionaire (a play from Who Wants to be a Millionaire.) Math concepts from basic addition and subtraction are appropriate for the young child in kindergarten, and growing to more complicated concepts like fractions, introductory statistics, and measurement. In addition to interactive games, parents return to the old school approach and print math worksheets for offline quizzes and practice.
Rick’s Math Web offers a full range of math concepts for the pre-kindergarten age child through early elementary school age, including telling time, numbers, addition, and subtraction. As children grow and learn, the offerings of this site will continue to appeal to their math learning with more complex math concepts like decimals, square roots, ratios and proportions, and geometry. The site features more than 4,800 math problems and tips and tricks for each focus area, all free of charge. Worksheets can also be printed from the website.
Brain Bashers is a no frills, simple website that presents math logic, puzzles, stereograms, and illusions to help users build their brain power and develop math skills. Games like Sudoku and a daily puzzle are offered, and those who are stumped can click for a hint to help solve the answer.
6. Math is Fun
Math is Fun strengthens math skills with interactive tools that grow in difficulty as children age. Basic addition and subtraction interactive learning expand to long addition and long subtraction. Drill activities help children memorize concepts with repetition and math practice. There is information on money, data, and measurement, and as children get older, they will find the material on algebra and geometry helpful. Information is presented in a textbook style format with some games intermingled and full access to the site is free of charge.
Illuminations focuses on learning and offers an ad-free website with online math games divided into grade groupings: kindergarten through grade 2, grades 3 through 5, grades 6 through 8, and grades 9 through 12. This is a website that grows with a child as the learning material encompasses all grade levels. The website is not flashy but offers substantial teaching materials in a game format with a description and screenshot of the game for review before beginning.
4. Mr. Nussbaum
Mr. Nussbaum offers interactive tools to reinforce learning and develop skills associated with rounding numbers, multiplication, graphing, and other math concepts. The website features a simplistic design with a sports theme rather than a lot of flashy graphics or videos. Educational material is organized by grade level with difficulty strengthening as children progress from the easier rounds to the harder material.
3. PBS Kids
PBS Kids appeals to the very young child who is learning basic math concepts including shape recognition, counting, sorting, measuring, and comparisons. Popular characters like The Cat in the Hat, Curious George, and Clifford present interactive math games that children will enjoy. One of the best features of PBS Kids is that it is free of advertising so children can focus on the learning content without distraction. Parents will want to monitor their child’s use as there are many videos that children may hone in on rather than engaging with the math concepts, thus making the website more of a television show rather than a learning resource.
2. Dream Box
Dream Box appeals to children who enjoy video games by offering math games covering complex math that resemble arcade games. The website offers online learning for children as young as pre-kindergarten and aging up through high school. Concepts are taught through video segments, charts and graphs, puzzles and other visual aids, with coins awarded as children progress through each learning module. Coins can then be redeemed at the online “carnival” to play other games. Before children can proceed to the next level, they must master a skill at the lower level. Limited access is available to some math games while the site requires a paid subscription to access all of its offerings; however, some will find its offerings comprehensive and worth the fee.
IXL offers math games for kindergarten through grade 8 and organized by content. One of the site’s greatest strengths is that it is aligned with individual state guidelines as well as Common Core. Upon registration on the site, the user is immediately served with problems that support learning in accordance with individual state standards. Parents and teachers can choose a specific topic from addition to geometry for children to practice. The website will track how long a child spends on each question, keep score, and record overall progress by awarding online prizes upon completion of each milestone. Dynamic learning is part of the website as the difficulty adjusts to the child’s skill level by skipping over problems when previous ones are correctly answered and serving more when previous questions are answered incorrectly. The website is free for access to a few sets of math problems per day, but there is a subscription fee for unlimited learning.