5 Apps to Boost Math Skills over the Summer

Apps that make a game out of learning will fit right into your kid's summer schedule. By Christine Elgersma
5 Apps to Boost Math Skills over the Summer

Daily math practice doesn't have to be -- and, in fact, shouldn't be -- drill-and-kill. Summer is a great opportunity to make learning more fun with apps that add a gaming element to key skills such as addition, subtraction, fractions, and more. These apps let kids avoid the "summer slide" in a fun -- and totally painless -- way.

Dragonbox Big Numbers: In a whimsical land called Noomia, kids collect resources, add them, regroup, and subtract when they buy supplies to accomplish various tasks. As they progress, new areas and challenges unlock, and numbers get larger.
Skills: addition, subtraction, grouping

Why We Like It

  • It's a unique and fun next step for kids who have mastered basic addition and subtraction.
  • Leveling up slowly and letting kids work with numbers visually and in numerals helps kids master the skills no matter their learning style or pace.
  • The gradual addition of new worlds and challenges makes the repetition of collecting resources and practicing skills more engaging.

Marble Math: In this fantastic app, kids see math problems -- such as "Collect fractions that add up to 2" -- at the top of the screen and then navigate through a maze with a marble to pick up answers to the problem.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, Roman numerals, decimals, negative numbers, and more

Why We Like It

  • The tricky mazes are fun to move through and solve.
  • Kids are empowered to customize the experience to their needs by selecting their level of difficulty, the specific skills they want to focus on, and more.
  • Users get good feedback and help; the "show me" button lets them see the correct maze pattern and math answer.

Motion Math Cupcake (now part of the Motion Math app): For their new bakery, kids must design, name, and make cupcakes. As they take orders and deliver them, kids do the basic math that comes with the territory of buying and selling.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, arithmetic, counting, fractions, graphing

Why We Like It

  • Math skills are baked right in to the activities, so there are no distractions from learning.
  • Placing kids in a business setting shows how math skills are useful in real life.
  • The varied activities keep it interesting as the game gets more challenging.

Prodigy Math Game: After choosing an avatar, kids earn spells by completing math problems and use them to defeat monsters. Along the way kids can earn other rewards, and the game adapts to a kid's skill level.
Skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, counting, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, numbers, probability, ratio, statistics

Why We Like It

  • Using the math to propel the game forward can motivate kids to keep practicing.
  • It covers a variety of math concepts within the look and feel of an adventure game.
  • Though there's some pressure for parents to subscribe, kids can use this game totally for free.

Sushi Monster: Kids playing Sushi Monster work in reverse to solve addition and multiplication problems. Each round begins with a set of target numbers. The chef puts numbered plates of sushi on the counter, and kids must choose the correct combination of plates to meet the target, thereby feeding the sushi monster.
Skills: addition, multiplication

Why We Like It

  • With engaging characters and achievable rewards, kids could easily get hooked on this fun math game.
  • It puts a spin on the traditional drill-and-practice method of memorizing addition and multiplication tables.
  • It's free.

About Christine Elgersma

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Christine Elgersma wrangles learning and social media app reviews and creates parent talks as Senior Editor, Parent Education. Before coming to Common Sense, she helped cultivate and create ELA curriculum for a K-12 app... Read more

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Comments (8)

Parent of a 9 year old written by Melissa L.

Hi, just wondering if any of these apps are good for helping a 9 year old with times tables / multiplication and division? Thanks :)
Adult written by Macaroo

I really like Doodle Math there are several different math apps for the different ages, but it is one of the few apps that teaches Venn diagrams in a fun way. https://www.doodlemaths.com
Adult written by MathNerd314

You should check out ATLT's The Lost Function 3D math adventure video game. It covers pre-algebra and algebra content and would be perfect for middle school or high school students to play over the summer to keep math fresh in their minds. The game contains thousands of practice problems and includes a virtual math tutor that detects students' deficiencies and remediates them. Plus, since it contains fun math break mini-games, a plot created by one of the writers of Star Trek, and really great graphics, the game is really fun!
Parent of a 5, 8, 12, 16, 18+, and 18+ year old written by djfague

These all sound great, but sadly - we would not be able to use them. It would be nice to see some reviews of apps that can be used on an android. All of these are for i-devices...
Parent of a 14 year old written by Caroline Knorr

Sorry about that! For Android users, here is a link to math apps for the Android platform: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/reviews?app_subfilter=44594&media_type=3.... We'll do another round up soon which will include more platforms. Thanks!
Adult written by VRChandler

These are some great games to add to my daughter's current activity list. She enjoys ALL of the digital items we have played thus far.... I signed up for the Summer Math Challenge sponsored by Quantile Framework for Mathematics. Each day we receive by email a game or two that focus on specific mathematical concepts. I must say it is great that I don't have to go searching for appropriate sites...
Parent of a 7 and 8 year old written by Sierra Filucci

My kids have played all four of these and they love them. It's hard to find high quality math apps that will excite kids, but these are excellent picks!