Arloon Mental Math

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Arloon Mental Math App Poster Image
Go paperless with fast-paced games that build math fluency.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn mental math strategies for adding and subtracting two numbers. Easier problems include single-digit numbers, and more difficult problems include two two-digit numbers. Kids learn various strategies including comparing numbers, rounding up or down, and breaking numbers to make tens. Kids can practice what they learn by playing five games that are timed and scored, and two of the games can be played with partners. A more direct link between the Learning and Games sections would help kids who need more scaffolding to apply concepts, and more kid-friendly language would help kids who haven't approached math in this way before. Though it probably won't wean kids off calculators entirely, Arloon Mental Math strives to help kids do arithmetic more efficiently.

Ease of Play

Lesson instructions are a bit confusing, and navigation isn't entirely intuitive.

Violence & Scariness

A cute character gets "zapped" by lightning bugs and submerged in water, but it's playful animation.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Arloon Mental Math has instruction, practice, and games that help kids build math skills for adding and subtracting. Two modes allow kids either to complete timed practice rounds or review strategies such as breaking apart numbers to mentally add and subtract. In the Games section, kids can choose to play solo or against a partner. In-app languages include Spanish and English.

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What's it about?

There are two main modes of play in ARLOON MENTAL MATH. In the Learn mode, kids practice strategies needed to mentally add and subtract two numbers. There are four primary lessons, and each lesson provides step-by-step guidance for learning a particular strategy. Kids can move onto the next lesson once they complete a certain number of questions. In the Games mode, kids use the strategies they learned to play five games, two of which can be played with a partner. Each game has a different theme, but all involve mental addition and/or subtraction and are timed and scored. Kids can choose whatever strategy they wish to play the games, and they earn achievements for completing lessons and games.

Is it any good?

Full of strategies, practice, and games that help kids do math in their heads, this tool would be even better with some fine tuning. Guided lessons provide instructional support, and the timed and scored games are motivating, if not a little anxiety-provoking. It would be nice to see some embedded feedback within the games, and kids unaccustomed to approaching arithmetic this way might be a bit lost at first. Though the Learning area will walk them through some skill-building, the instructions can be less than kid-friendly: "Separate the units from the tens, putting them into the upper box. Later input the total sum of the numbers." The animated guide also tells kids to "Tape me" when it should read "Tap me." In terms of navigation, the Game area appears first upon a user opening the app, but diving right in to the games might be overwhelming. A clearer bridge between the Learning strategies and the Games would help kids apply what they've learned in a more direct way. Patient kids might build some critical math-fluency skills once they get the hang of it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of using mental math for everyday activities such as adding up and estimating the cost of grocery items. Are there other circumstances where doing math in your head might come in handy?

  • Work through the lessons with kids and keep track of their game scores. Challenge each other in the multiplayer games.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love math

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