As a parent, we know you want your children to grow into positive, self-reliant adults. In today’s society, having sharp math skills has basically become a prerequisite for self-reliance. Sharp math skills are required to make skillful investments, to get jobs at top companies like Google (which test candidates on their mental math and estimation abilities), and even simply to pay the right tip at a restaurant.
Needless to say, learning essential math skills is very important for kids in elementary and high school. Unfortunately, many foundational math skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, require lots of repetition to master. And many children don’t get the practice they need. In fact, in 2017 over 50% of US 4th graders were not proficient in 4th grade math Common Core Standards. Because they don’t develop a strong foundation, many students struggle to learn higher order concepts and end up falling further and further behind.
Luckily, a number of strong math apps have been developed to turn this around. We’ve curated a list of the 12 best math apps for kids of all ages in 2018 that will help your child develop to their fullest potential. Browse through the list and try one with your child that fits their level of development.
These apps push the boundaries of high-quality personalized education at an affordable price. Most apps are either free, or have a free trial. And the impact they provide is greater than even hours of personal tutoring.
If you’re in a hurry, jump down to the 12 best math apps for kids list below. Otherwise, take a moment to learn how to successfully integrate math apps into your child’s after-school routine. Let’s be real – practicing math can be challenging and tiring for kids. Providing the right structure to motivate them is important. Luckily there’s a simple trick. So let’s break it down.
How to get your kids using math apps every day
The key to math mastery is practice. But how do you motivate a child to practice math apps every day when all they want to do is play Sonic?
Don’t worry. It’s easy. As a parent, you can actually create a structure of positive reinforcement that motivates your child to develop at their fastest rate, rather than forces them to work against their will.
The key is to turn any developmental activity into a game by implementing a point system. Here’s how:
- Tell your child they’ll start earning points for doing good things. When they reach 100 points, you’ll buy them a video game or toy of their choice. Ask them what prize they would like? They’ll be so excited to pick something out!
- Get a small whiteboard and write the child’s name, current score, and the prize they want when they reach 100.
- Reward your child for doing positive activities like cleaning, reading, being kind, and of course practicing math with points. Have them update their own score on the whiteboard as they earn points.
- Choose a math app from the list below based on your child’s age and abilities. Set an appropriate daily milestones within each app (like 10 medals earned, or 5 challenges completed, etc…). Award your child 5 points towards their desired prize for completing their daily math milestone.
Implementing a point system with your child turns learning into a game rather than a chore.
With that critical tip in mind, check out the best math apps in 2018 to try with your kids. If your child doesn’t like one, try another until you have something that sticks. It’s worth the effort.
Best Math Apps for Kids
Age range: 5-7 (Kindergarten to 2nd grade)
You’ve probably heard of this program, and with good reason: not only is it one of the most popular early learning platforms available, it’s also one of the most successful. With over 850 lessons over 10 distinct learning levels up to age 8, there is definitely a reason for your child to be immersed with this learning plan.
What makes ABCmouse so effective for so many children is its incremental-style learning approach. Each lesson builds on the previous ones, so your child is able to acquire new skills without even realizing it!
Even better, ABCmouse is supported on any device you may have, so your child can learn at home, in school, or on the go. The downside to this wealth of knowledge and convenience? While most apps have a one-time fee, ABCmouse costs about $10/month for the basic package.
Download ABC Mouse
2. Math Ace
Age range: 6-8 (1st to 3rd grade)
Math Ace has separate apps for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade math. Each one is a complete math workbook disguised as a beautiful game. Common Core math standards are cleverly broken down into minute-long challenges. The challenges are like worksheets 2.0 – they adapt to your child’s abilities and mistakes in real time.
The app’s simple user interface (UI) makes it very easy to jump to any specific skill your child may need help with. For example, if you see that your child is making mistakes multiplying 7 times 3, have them complete the “Multiplying 7’s” challenge.
Math Ace is a nice balance of math practice and gameplay. There’s a fun jetpack mini-game to motivate players and make the practice a little more fun. When you first play, the jetpack isn’t very strong and you’ll only be able to fly for a few seconds. Players have to earn medals by mastering math skills in order to upgrade their jetpack and fly into orbit.
We’ve found with our own kids that earning 10 medals is a good daily practice requirement. Reward your child for earning 10 medals every day with 5 points towards a prize (See implement a point system above).
Math Ace is free for one week, and $19.99 per quarter (3 months) after that. A nice bonus is that your “Ace Pass” subscription also unlocks other high quality Ace Apps like Spelling Ace.
Download Math Ace
- Math Ace 1st Grade on the App Store
- Math Ace 2nd Grade on the App Store
- Math Ace 3rd Grade on the App Store
3. Monster Math
Age range: 5-10 (Kindergarten to 4th Grade)
This app has a somewhat less extensive repertoire of problems to solve, but it makes up for this with a highly immersive gameplay. 23 unlockable characters guide your child through four different worlds full of zany monsters to defeat. As your child continues vanquishing monsters, the difficulty increases, all the way up to units on primes, factors, and multiples, and fraction arithmetic.
On top of aligning with Common Core Standards for elementary grade levels, this app hones in on what your child might be struggling with, and refocuses the questions to help them understand. Skill-specific analyses are available for the parent, too, so you can ensure they’re moving in the right direction.
If you’re looking to reward your hard worker, consider a small prize after each world they beat. Or, maybe something larger after they work their way through the whole game!
Download Monster Math
SmartKids offers an impressive selection of mini-games to teach a wide range of topics. Kids go wild for this app. While SmartKids is a great overall e-learning platform, the pace of the mini-games means that students only answer a few math problems per minute of app usage. In 10 minutes of play, students may only answer between 20 and 30 math problems. In Math Ace, for instance, students will answer on average 100 to 200 in 10 minutes of play. The app also makes it hard to comprehensively track progress on Common Core standards. Nevertheless the quality and fun of the mini-games makes it a great choice for many families.
SmartKids is $7.99 / month or $79.99 per year.
5. Math versus Zombies
Age range: 5-11 (Kindergarten to 4th grade)
This game allows your learner to be the hero the zombies didn’t know they needed: by solving math problems of increasing difficulty, more zombies will be turned back into humans! The gameplay is quite addictive, and the more questions your child answers, the more they’ll want to play.
Math vs Zombies is aligned with Common Core State Standards for kindergarten through fourth grade, and provides a fun way for students to learn math facts, including numerical relationships, basic arithmetic, and more. An interactive report card allows parents and teachers to identify problem areas the student may need more work on.
Download Math versus Zombies
6. iTooch Elementary School App
Age range: 5-11 (1st to 5th Grade)
When other apps fall flat and don’t continue to provide a variety of exercises, iTooch prevails. Purported to have the greatest number of problems for children to solve (over 26,000), there’s practically no chance for your child to get bored with this app. The interface is intuitive for any user, and questions align with Common Core Standards.
The beauty of iTooch is also that it is more than just math: any subject a child will study in elementary school, iTooch has learning modules on it. Additionally, each question has step-by-step explanations to help the child understand what they may have completed incorrectly.
On the surface, iTooch may seem overwhelming with the number of options available, but your child will love being able to choose exactly what they learn and how they learn it. The whole app feels like a game, and the tests aren’t going to be too much for your child. On top of it all, the daily rewards really show your child they’re accomplishing something.
Download iTooch Elementary School App
- iTooch on the App Store
- iTooch Math 1st Grade on Google Play (iTooch has separate apps per grade on Android)
7. Grades K-3 Math Power Pack
Age range: 5-9 (Kindergarten to 3rd Grade)
This is actually a set of apps that start at the kindergarten level and progress through third grade. The content is aligned with Common Core Standards, so you can be sure your student is reinforcing their classroom learning through the app.
Over 5,000 questions continually challenge your child on a variety of topics many apps don’t touch on: time, money, place value, and strategic operations. This broadens your child’s understanding of how numbers work together, allowing them to be more engaged in class.
You’ll love the real-time feedback that shows where your child may need some work, and they’ll love the friendly safari animals guiding them through each problem.
Download Grades K-3 Math Power Pack
8. Splash Math – Grades K-5 Math Learning Games
Age range: 5-11 (Kindergarten to 5th Grade)
Splash Math is one of the most popular education apps on the market, and with good reason: it’s colorful, and the visuals apply to children who learn best by seeing what they’re solving. The app’s curriculum makes Common Core State Standards an engaging way of learning, making the app a sure bet of helping your child’s confidence.
What really makes this app unique is its scope: while it might not have the question count that iTooch boasts, it does contain questions for advanced learners like basic algebra and geometry. But if you’re child is only in kindergarten, never fear, because Splash Math also has plenty of lessons on counting and numbers, as well as simple shapes.
Splash Math overall is a simple solution for keeping your child just a little bit ahead of the curve, and for $9.99/mo, your child’s confidence should be worth it.
Download Splash Math
Age range: 5-12 (1st to 7th Grade)
Mathmateer is another gaming app that teaches math for anyone just starting to understand number relationships to your precocious child looking for a challenge. 56 missions allow for ample study time, all while the student works toward a goal.
In Mathmateer, answering questions gives you money toward custom rockets you can build to reach new goals in space. Questions, depending on your difficulty setting, may range from addition and subtraction to identifying patterns, square roots, and more. If your child has become somewhat bored in the classroom, this game could be the answer to helping them move forward.
Another bonus to the game is it makes it easy to identify progress: as missions and challenges are completed, bronze, silver, and gold medals may be awarded, based on speed and accuracy. This makes it easy to incentivize your child’s work – each medal might be worth a certain amount of points toward a prize you give them.
10. Prodigy Math Game
Age range: 5-13 (1st to 8th Grade)
What might attract you to this game might be that it’s free. Or that it’s highly rated by students, teachers, and parents alike. Or maybe that it contains Common Core-aligned curricula through 8th grade. Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is, Prodigy is one of the best at what it does, and what it does is teach math to children through role playing game battles.
Like many other educational apps, it contains a real-time reporting feature, so no one is in the dark regarding a student’s performance, but why it might be more important on Prodigy is the expanse of knowledge a student can expect to acquire through the app. Grade 1 content includes standards like basic arithmetic and simple shapes, but it goes as far to teach fractions, time, and data relationships — and the coursework only gets tougher from there.
The game aspect isn’t lacking, either, and your child will be excited not only to learn, but to win with their very own customizable character. The only downside with Prodigy is that the stretched graphics on the iPhone and iPad can be a little off-putting, and you may need to play the first 15 minutes or so with your child because the user interface is often not very intuitive. Once you show them how to login and answer questions, they’ll be ready to go.
11. Reflex Student
Age range: 7-9 (2nd to 4th grade)
Reflex is an app that focuses more on speed than on variety. It was developed to help children with difficulty with mental math excel, and the adaptive gameplay, swift questions, and simple interface enable students to focus on building their confidence and speed when answering simple arithmetic.
The app is simple and easy to use, producing results positive results rather than focusing on Common Core curricula for a broad age range.
12. Math Training for Kids
Age range: 6-8 (1st to 3rd grade)
Math Training for Kids is the only Google Play-exclusive app on this list, so sorry, Apple users, this one won’t be it for you! For those of you who can enrich your child’s progress in math with this app, you won’t want to skip this. The easy-to-use interface lets your child take control and choose what skill they’d like to work — they even get to pick the difficulty! Math Training is marketed for children and adults who want to brush up on the four arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), but the simple gameplay makes it a good platform to keep your child engaged in learning, too.
Download Math Training