Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks

Common Sense Media says

Terrific tool for learning speedy math tricks.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

There are only three modes of play (Learn, Practice, and Play) on this app, so choosing what to do is easy. The Learn mode tutorials are designed with clean, clear graphics and step-by-step instructions. That said, the app's developers suggest that all kids need is a basic handle on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to utilize this app, which may not be true for many kids. Some kids may find this app too simplified to teach some of the more complex tricks, and they may find the Practice and Play modes too difficult without more explanations and comparisons in the tutorials.

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An ad for the algebra version of Mathemagics with a link to the App Store appears on the main screen when you open the app.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. With iOS 5, players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks teaches kids how to perform math problems faster. Kids learn patterns and other tricks that play out across certain mathematical operations and numbers in amazing ways. There are more than 50 tricks to learn, and three modes of play in which to learn them. The app promo says that only basic math skills in addition, subtraction, simple multiplication, and division are needed to learn these tricks. For many kids, however, those skills will need to be very strong before they're ready to tackle some of these tricks and use them on tests or in homework. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

What kids can learn



  • patterns
  • subtraction
  • addition
  • division
  • estimation
  • multiplication


Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • problem solving


  • effort

Engagement, Approach, Support


Kids who naturally gravitate toward math are likely to find the multitude of well-explained tricks and shortcuts on this app (as well as the game testing those newfound skills) engaging and fun.

Learning Approach

A deep knowledge of basic math skills is needed to even begin with these sometimes complex tricks, but kids will feel empowered when they do grasp the concepts.


The excellent tutorials use clear, step-by-step graphics. Progress data includes number of correct answers overall, as well as within each method.

What kids can learn



  • patterns
  • subtraction
  • addition
  • division
  • estimation
  • multiplication


Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • problem solving


  • effort

Kids can learn how to perform mental math calculations and other shortcuts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, and more. The app helps kids learn how patterns are often embedded in various math tricks that track along certain numbers or operations. It would be even better if this app provided side-by-side examples showing the standard way of solving problems along with the trick, so kids could conceptualize how they can be interchanged and why the trick works. For kids who like to learn different ways to tackle math, Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks can provide dozens of new ways to solve problems.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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Kids say

What's it about?

Kids can choose from three modes of play on MATHEMAGICS -- MENTAL MATH TRICKS: Learn, Practice, and Play. In Learn, kids choose a trick to learn from a list by tapping "Tricks." Tricks ranging from multiplication to perfect squares pop up with step-by-step explanations to read. Kids practice the tricks in Practice mode by once again choosing a trick from the same list and answering a number of multiple-choice practice problems related to that trick. If kids aren't getting the correct answers, they can view the lesson from that mode again. In Play mode, kids answer random tricks in random order.

Is it any good?


Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks is perfect for kids who want to do math problems faster, as long as they are willing to try thinking about them from different angles to learn the tricks. For kids who are not inclined to enjoy mental gymnastics, the tricks taught on this app may be frustrating. For example, to multiply any number by 99, the trick teaches kids to multiply that number by 100 and subtract the original number from the result in the first step to get the answer. Some kids may find that incredibly cool and remember the trick and apply it during tests; others may prefer just to write it out as a standard multiplication problem and solve. In the hands of willing kids, this is a fantastic math app. For others, it will likely be more frustrating than functional.

Families can talk about...

  • Do you have any math or spelling tricks that you learned when you were in school? Share them with your kid.

  • Talk with your kid about why learning tricks like this and thinking about numbers in different ways is good for your brain, like flexing your mental muscles!

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:December 12, 2012
Size:13.30 MB
Publisher:Blue Lightning Labs
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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