Bedtime Math

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Bedtime Math App Poster Image
Daily math inspires, but word problems have little variety.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn an appreciation for math, though the math that kids do with Bedtime Math is not particularly varied, and solutions are not always explained very clearly. Beyond simple counting, addition, and the like, most actual mathematical learning will happen outside the app. Yet by doing simple math problems every day, kids may form a familiarity with math that can allow them to feel comfortable in their mathematical abilities as they progress through more challenging math problems in school and in life. Though the Bedtime Math app is a more mobile way to access this daily math routine, the website is probably a better choice in terms of features.

Ease of Play

Interface is very simple and easy to use.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bedtime Math is a touchscreen addition to the website of the same name that aims to make mathematical thinking as natural and habitual as reading a bedtime story. The app is designed for parents to use with their kids. Every day, there's a new fun fact that often -- but not always -- involves math in some way. Each of these stories has math word problems that expand on the theme on at least three levels -- "wee ones," "little kids," and "big kids" -- sometimes with an extra bonus question called "the sky's the limit." Parents can turn off the sounds effects and animations in the settings menu and can sign up to receive the daily math "stories" by email. The dense, legalese-y privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

The BEDTIME MATH app shows daily fun facts and associated three (or more) levels of math riddles. Tap to see the problem of the day, or tap "surprise" to be presented with one at random. Each problem includes a fun fact and buttons to choose a riddle for wee ones, little kids, and big kids, and sometimes there's also a super challenge. When the riddle appears, tap the "get the answer" star to see the answer. Past entries appear as a list on the left of the screen, and users can search, sort, and star them.

Is it any good?

Consistent and reliable reminders get kids and parents thinking about math on a daily basis, but the math can get a bit repetitive and the website has more bells and whistles. It's true that it can help families make simple math-related talk and mathematical thinking into a fun habit: With something new to look at every day, math becomes something fun, accessible, and entirely normal as opposed to something boring, foreign, or fear-inducing. However, the app's interface is simple to a fault -- it feels mostly like a reference app. For example, the fun facts often refer to videos that aren't included (though they can be found on the website), and there's no way to mark which entries you've already seen other than to star them as favorites. Also, though the fun facts are mostly actually fun and even sometimes zany, the math problems seem to follow the same formula adapted slightly to incorporate the fun facts. More variety would really showcase all the different things we can do with math. Yet, overall, as a free resource, Bedtime Math is a nice, simple app for parents to use together with their kids that encourages everyone to think about math as a part of a routine.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about math, every day and on every occasion possible. Highlight how we use numbers, fractions, and proportions in our daily lives when we cook, shop, divide a pizza, and so on.

  • Read the fun facts and work out the problems together. Show kids that you have fun doing math, too.

  • When kids show particular interest in one of the daily fun facts, encourage and help them do research to learn more about it.

App details

For kids who love math apps

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