Math Wizard for Kids

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Math Wizard for Kids App Poster Image
Play with numbers and equations in exploration exercises.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Numbers and how they relate to each other. Through exploration of equations and mathematical expressions, kids get familiar with the value of numbers and how to combine them. Addition, subtraction, equality expressions, and the foundational idea of basic algebra. Lots of practice doing and checking mental math.

Ease of Play

Moving numbers around, exploring all the customization options isn't always immediately intuitive. Tutorials help only slightly to flatten the learning curve.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Small icon on home screen requires users to solve a simple math equation before seeing ads for other apps from the same developer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Math Wizard for Kids is a digital approach to using manipulatives to help kids understand mathematical concepts. In both free play and exercise mode, kids move numbers around and experiment with making equations true. Most of the exercises explore addition, subtraction, equality, and inequality, and the concept of unknown variables, or x. Through this exploration, the developers claim that kids learn about algebra. There's a lot of flexibility in how to play, with a long list of ways to customize the experience, which could be confusing for some parents -- though the Parents section gives some pointers for how to navigate the options. The Users and Reports section shows usage reports for an unlimited number of users. The app can be set to any of 15 languages. Read the developer's multilingual privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

MATH WIZARD FOR KIDS allows kids to play with numbers in the Sandbox or complete number challenges with Exercises. In either option, kids tap and drag numbers to create equations or equality expressions. Exercises require kids to use only the numbers provided to match a target. Challenges can focus on addition, subtraction, number isolation, equality/inequality, or brainteasers. If kids or parents need to customize, there are lots of options, including seeing numbers as beads or numerals, seeing the range of numbers available, and selecting the kinds of sounds and voice effects.

Is it any good?

Fun, open-ended number exploration can be a great way to help kids feel comfortable with numbers, even if there are some elements that are less clear. Often when kids simply play and explore, learning just comes naturally -- and that's the best kind of learning. Math Wizard for Kids attempts to give kids a platform to learn without realizing they're learning, with just a bit of guidance and scaffolding and a lot of opportunities for manipulating numbers. And with lots of customization options, the app aims to fit a wide range of familiarity levels and comfort with numbers. Yet, there's a fine line between an exploration-based customizable learning tool and an overwhelming app that doesn't quite get its point across. Math Wizard for Kids sometimes rides that line, and some kids may find this approach confusing, whereas for others it may work wonders. A few other things keep this great idea from shining: Interaction within the app sometimes feels awkward, such as dragging numbers on top of others, and clearing them from the work board doesn't always work smoothly. There's no way for kids to see their progress, and the usage report for parents isn't very informative. Overall, this is a carefully constructed app with lots of potential learning that could use a little fine-tuning to make use clearer for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the math concepts behind Math Wizard for Kids. Talk kids through the exercises and what all the different symbols mean.

  • Spend some time exploring the customizable options in Math Wizard for Kids and set things up together so that your kids are challenged at just the right level.

  • Help kids play with and explore numbers throughout the day. They can calculate prices, bill totals, or change due while shopping, or involve them in adjusting a recipe and changing the amount of ingredients.

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