Learning new math concepts can be tricky, regardless of one’s age. And for parents, teaching children these skills can be equally daunting. Luckily, you can get your kids off to a great start with iOS games that are as delightfully addictive as Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds, but that teach vital math concepts and strengthen problem-solving skills. Not only are the following apps fun, but they also help children gain an interest in math and prepare them for learning in the future. You never know when some quick math lessons are going to come in handy!
Operation Math ($2.99, iPad only)
Spy fantasies are universal. I mean, what kid hasn’t fancied being an international secret agent at one point or another? With Operation Math, children have the opportunity to play the role of a spy, complete with uniform and gear, while facing off against the evil Dr. Odd. In this game, your mission is to beat the clock while learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This is a great app for sharpening basic arithmetic skills in a way that keeps you coming back for more. It’s easy on the wallet, too, with full access to 105 missions included—or you can upgrade to a multiplayer version of the app for $2.99. Be careful, though—you might end up stealing this game from your kids to play in your spare time.
Medieval Math Battle (Free)
Math equations combined with turn-based role playing? Sounds like a brilliant combination! With this app, kids play the role of a warrior, taking on math equations in order to complete their turns in battle. The faster you answer, the more powerful your attacks, so the game encourages quick thinking as you fight off all manner of fantastical enemies, from spooky goblins to enormous spiders and dragons. Defeating enemies earns you new equipment, such as potions and weapons, and you can rack up bonuses by playing for 15 minutes each day. The base game, which only includes addition, is free, but you’ll need to purchase the corresponding packs to unlock subtraction, multiplication, and division. The great thing about this app is that you can purchase more packs as your child progresses, so the game grows with them.
Motion Math: Fractions! ($3.99, iPad only)
The toughest game of the bunch, Motion Math HD requires not only quick reflexes, but also a solid understanding of decimals, fractions, and percentages. The goal of the game is to aim numbers at their proper location on the number line using the iPad’s internal gyroscope. Of course, tilting the iPad left or right is easy, but as you advance, your physical and mental speed is put to the test. Though Motion Math HD is tough at times, that’s part of what makes the game so much fun!
DragonBox Algebra 5+ ($4.99)
As parents, sometimes you have to be a little sly about incorporating education into playtime, and DragonBox is as sneaky as it gets! With a game this fun, kids won’t even realize they’re working their brains. DragonBox teaches early algebra concepts, and because the game focuses on experimentation, it encourages children to be creative and have fun. This is one addictive game, so don’t be surprised if your kids can’t put it down.
YodelOh Math Mountain ($2.99)
With this game, players ascend mountains accompanied by yodelers and sheep while smashing through targets that act as answers to math equations. This app may look like an innocent game of “hit the target,” but don’t be deceived by its cuteness—it teaches some serious math lessons. Just look at those cute little ducks and see if you can’t rack up a higher score than your kids.
Squeebles Maths Bingo ($1.99)
This international hit game with a silly name combines the familiarity of Bingo with math equations for on-the-go learning. Squeebles Maths Bingo also has ice cream-themed metagames within it, creating more than enough incentive to keep playing, especially if you’re a fan of sweet treats and vivid hues.
The most traditional option on the list, Math- Board is a virtual chalkboard that helps students complete equations and learn new math concepts. Though the app may remind you of days stuck in math class, it has its own respective game-like elements. Children can play matching games, use colored chalks, and attain new high scores. MathBoard offers a simple approach to learning, walking players through the steps required to complete a problem and offering assistance if they get stuck. That sounds a heck of a lot better than sitting in a dusty old room and memorizing times tables!