Math Playground

Website review by Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
Math Playground Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Jam-packed with many types of problems disguised as games.

Parents say

age 10+

Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 4+

Based on 6 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

Too difficult

My teens were playing a math game that they said was impossible and it was mancala which i know so i gave it a try. It's literally against a super computer. This is super defeating for my kids to be trying to learn and put up against something virtually impossible. The computer should have some lee way to allow people who are learning to win sometimes
age 6+

Product Review

Math Playground is a free website hosting a variety of educational games, featuring cheery cartoon graphics appropriate for children of all ages. Schoolteacher Colleen King founded the site for her students in 2002. As the name would suggest, most of the games here test principles of mathematics. Some are simple drills, like Monster Subtraction, where the player must quickly answer basic subtraction questions to collect friendly monsters that appear on the screen. There are also games covering more complex subjects like logic, geometry, and spatial reasoning. Some of the programs are not even “games” in the traditional sense, but rather visual tools to help children understand concepts like fractions and graph coordinates. There are even a few outliers that have nothing to do with math, such as a spelling game and a quiz on state capitals. Less impressive were some of the entries on the “Classic Games” page, such as Checkers, Battleship, and “Coin Knight” (a Pac-Man lookalike) which seem designed for entertainment over education. This could lead to kids becoming distracted, as could the “Share to Facebook” button present throughout the site. On the other hand, the sheer diversity of games means a greater likelihood that users will find one they connect with, and even non-educational games can help children improve their reaction time and planning skills. The available items are organized on the main page by grade (1st through 6th) and six broad categories (Math games, logic games, story math, math arcade, math videos, and Common Core state standards). There’s also a host of smaller categories with illustrated titles: “Geometry Graphing Games”, “Brilliant Brain Workouts”, “Computers, Robots, and Code”, and so on. I think this method of organization is one of the site’s strongest features, because it’s easy to navigate for both adults and children regardless of their familiarity with the internet. Math Playground does run ads, but they’re reviewed by staff before being posted, and during my time on the site I saw nothing age-inappropriate in the advertising. The site is also certified compliant with COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Unfortunately, while the games on Math Playground are colorful, varied, and accessible, most of them are made with Adobe Flash, a software platform that is slowly being abandoned. Many browsers (like iOS and Firefox) restrict Flash use by default, and Adobe itself will drop support for it by 2020. Hopefully the website will find a way to adapt, but this concern is something to keep in mind. Between the ads, Facebook integration, and the massive variety of available games, Math Playground probably isn’t the best place for focused, disciplined study on a single subject. It certainly shouldn’t be a substitute for assigned math homework and parental guidance, and it doesn’t claim to be. But it does provide quality educational content for free, and it gives young children the tools they need to navigate the site and discover the subjects they enjoy on their own terms.

Website Details

  • Subjects: Math: arithmetic, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, graphing, measurement, money, patterns, probability, ratio, shapes, statistics
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic
  • Genre: Educational
  • Pricing structure: Free ($5.99/mo. for premium features)
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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