Grab a Free Space Age iPad Arithmetic App!


The best way for a child to get better at those dreaded addition and subtraction facts and the times tables is to actually do lots of addition and subtraction and times tables questions. For some kids, sitting down to do pages and pages of Kumon arithmetic is something they’re happy to do but for most kids you’ll need to bring something more exciting to the table than a pencil and a piece of paper. That’s why math iPhone, iPad and Android apps are such a great way of sneaking some arithmetic into your child’s week. I’ve written some posts about some of my recommended apps in the past here on Maths Insider check out 16 Cool iPad Apps and over on my Faster Times Tables site 10 Parent Approved iPhone and iPad Apps to Help Your Child Ace Those Multiplication Facts.

Today I want to bring to your attention 2 new space themed apps DynaMult and DynaPlus. Dyna Mult is great for practising the times tables and DynaPlus will help kids get confident with addition and subtraction. The graphics, sounds and music add tension to the game (turn the music off in the options section if it gets too annoying) as your child tries to choose the correct numbers to make the answer to the sum before the fuse blows in DynaMult and tries to steer the spaceship onto the correct course in DynaPlus.


Both games use positive and negative numbers so both games are better for either older children who are confident at working with both positive and negative numbers or for younger kids who don’t mind learning new concepts through game play. Both games will work on the iPad but only DynaMult is a universal app that will work on the iPhone as well.

Both DynaMult and DynaPlus cost only $0.99 each, but knowing that everyone loves a freebie, I’ve managed to get some free iTunes download codes for each game from the developer, Jo Ann Comito.

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 10.33.48 AM

To enter for your chance to win the app of your choice:

Comment on this post by typing one of the 4 sentences below into the comments box depending on whether your account is on the UK or US iTunes store.

    • I want DynaMult US
    • I want DynaMult UK
    • I want DynaPlus US
    • I want DynaPlus UK

The closing date for entries is Tuesday 22nd January 2013 at 11:59pm GMT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick each of the 4 winners. The iTunes codes will be sent to the email address used by the winning commentators within 24 hours of the competition closing. The iTunes codes must be redeemed by 28 January 2013.




Top Maths Insider Posts 2012 (and how may I help you in 2013)


Hope you’re having an amazing start to 2013! If helping your child develop a love of math is high on your list of things to get done this year, then I’d love to help you achieve this through my posts here on Maths Insider. What topics would you like to see covered in the year ahead? To give you some ideas, here are the Top 10 posts that Maths Insider readers flocked to in 2012:

Top 10 Maths Insider posts of 2012

1) 8 Things to Hate about Kumon – A Review 48,724 views

Still at the top of the list since I wrote this post back in 2010! Kumon is the largest after school math profgram in the world and therefore it’s no surprise that parents are either looking for some feedback on the program before they enrol their child, or wondering if it’s worth continuing once their child has been on the program for a while. As a ex Kumon instructor I shed some light on the negative (and some of the positive!) aspects of Kumon.

2) 10 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Maths – 26,139 views

One of my personal favorites and great to see that Maths Insider readers are as excited about how math can lead to some seriously cool careers. Also check out the link in that post to the free “share to get” full color booklet 21 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math for some seriously cool math inspiration.

3) About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – 23,730 views

More Kumon revelations. This time I start with the good points about Kumon (2 of my own kids were on the program for several years – it ain’t all bad!) but then also highlight some of the important aspects that can cause problems (I’ve even had an instructor email me privately to say that they agree with both the positives and negatives) For those of you whose children are doing the Kumon math program, do you agree with me?

4) 16 Cool iPad Math Apps (That Your Child Might Actually Love!) – 11,564 views

It’s hard to believe that the iPad is less then 3 years old! With thousands of Math apps of varying qualities on the App store, this post highlight my pick of the best. Don’t forget to check out my post about my very favorite math app Dragon Box.

5) 24 Short and Sweet Preschool Maths Activities. – 11,229 views

I’m a big fan of anything that makes math fun, especially for younger kids. I’m not one to send time making resources, but will happily spend a few minutes making and cutting up numbers cards for a quick game of hide the numbers or log on to a kids website for some math videos and games. You’ll find some other nice and simple activities in this post.

6) The Ultimate Kumon Review – 9,603 views

My first published book on Amazon (in a recent Amazon recommends email, they even suggested I may be interested in buying my own book!) In The Ultimate Kumon Review I spill the beans on what kind of families I think the Kumon program works for and which families it doesn’t (yes it’s not just do do with the child) The questionnaire at the end of the book will help parents decide if the Kumon program is right for their child.

7) No! No! No! No! Don’t Let your Child Finger Count! – 8,500 views

A controversial post again written in 2010, but still popular as ever with parents who are anxious about their child’s finger counting. I’m actually not so militant about this topic these days but there’s no getting away from the fact that whether it’s used as a crutch or because a child really can’t work out the answer, finger-counting is something that can be replaced  by other strategies.

8) Who else wants their child to be lightening fast at mental maths? – Introduction – 6,655 views

 Ironically, this post is based on the idea of slow increments and mastery which are the foundations of the Kumon program. Find out how to build your own mental arithmetic routine with your child in this post and the 2 videos linked to in the post.

9) 13 Cool, Beautiful and Inspirational Math Quotes – 5,961 views

More math inspiration! I fired up Powerpoint on my laptop and with limited artistic skills took some cool math quotes and some cool fonts and backgrounds and produced this math-eye-candy post. Which is your favorite quote?

10) Have You Seen These 8 High Quality, Free Maths Websites? – 5,504 views

Everyone loves a bargain, even when it comes to math resources. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to high quality online math programs, but the websites in this post offer some great free options.

Tell me what you think!

So tell me, which are your favorite posts on Maths Insider? What can I help you with in 2013? Tell me in the comments below, hit the Contact buton at the top of the page or if  you’re a subscriber reading this in your inbox, don’t be shy, hit reply and tell me how I can help your child love math in 2013!

Grade by Grade Math Targets: Where Does Your Child Stand?

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This is a guest post by Kathy from, a website that helps consumers find out what things cost.

If you have a child that is in school right now, you may often wonder where your child should stand in terms of their mathematical skills. Sure, while they are getting decent grades, does it really mean that they are up to par with the average student in their grade? To give you a better idea where your child stands, I went ahead and wrote up some key math milestones that every parent should know.

Kindergarten Math

In kindergarten, your child should be able to print, locate, order, read and represent numbers up to at least 10. They should also be able to count to 10 forward and backwards. Using visual objects, your kindergartener should know basic adding, such as adding one more penny to the pile of six.

In terms of measurement, your child should know the different times such as afternoon, night and morning. They should also know the basics of time and the definition of short and tall. Aside from measurements, the average kindergartener will know their basic shapes and patterns.

Second Grade Math

By the second grade, your child should be able to print, locate, order, estimate and identify numbers up to at least 1000. Mentally, they should also be able to add and subtract numbers under 25.

In increments, your child should understand basic counting by 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s.

While most second graders haven’t learned division yet, some that excel can understand the basic fundamentals.

In terms of measurements, second graders should understand the time, the terms inches, yards, feet and centimeters. They should also know the month of the year and the basic reading of a thermometer.

Fourth Grade Math

By fourth grade, it’s almost time for your child to jump ship to middle school. By this time, your child should be able to read numbers up to 10,000 and they should be able to count by any number up to 100.

Your child should also understand basic multiplication up to at least the 10x tables. They should also know how basic decimals work and how to add and subtract them. While fractions may be new to some classes, they should understand the basics by now.

In the measurement area, the typical fourth grader should understand all the basic measurements. They should know how to make change with money up to $100 and how to measure perimeters and the area of basic shapes.

As statistics are slowly being introduced to the older elementary students, fourth graders should learn how to use logical when collecting data and how to create graphs with simple data that has been given to them.

Eighth Grade Math

As the last grade in most middle schools, the typical eighth grader should have a wealth of knowledge by now. Eighth graders should know the basics of multiples, integers, square roots and factors. They should also know how to make any basic measurement.

Depending on your child’s skill set, most will be able to solve many
complex problems using a variety of formulas.

In the geometry sector, most student scan and classify many geometric shapes, calculate areas and volumes as well as solve a variety of geometric problems.

12th Grade Math

As your child gears for college, you’re going to find that many seniors in high school are going to be on so many different levels. Some are going to complete Calculus, while some will only take the minimum math requirements necessary. With that being said, here’s where most 12th graders should stand in the math world:

Most high schoolers should have taken math classes up to Algebra II. Here, students should have learned about radical expression and exponents, the binomial theorem, graph ellipses and hyperbolas, linear equations,  probability and permutations and combinations. If this sounds foreign to your child, they probably didn’t pay enough attention in class!

Remember, it’s never too early to start supporting your child’s math learning whether by becoming your own child’s math tutor or by hiring a math tutor from outside.  As you already know, if your child doesn’t understand one math concept, it’s going to be awfully hard to comprehend lessons coming forward!

Kathy Cady runs a website that give readers a guide to how much things cost from car seats to cavity removal!

10 Fun Parent-Tested Math Board Games

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Who doesn’t love a good board game?  If you read my post Can Board Games Make Maths More Fun? A Review you’ll know that I’m a big fan of using board games to make math more fun.

One of the coolest things about my little ones’ school is that parents and kids can borrow math board games from the school library to take home or play there and then before school starts. I’ve seen 3 year olds learning the basics of fractions and 7 year olds building confidence in their arithmetic facts, all with great big smiles on their faces! Board games are a great way to make math practice painless. For those of you fellow board games fans, here are 10 recommended math board games, along with what parents have to say about them. Enjoy!

1. Mathopoly

This game board is a clever take on the classic board game Monopoly, but with math in every action.  Roll the dice and move to a square to answer or figure out one of the curriculum standards-based questions to “own” the property.

What parents say “Math may not be your children’s favorite subject, but it might be if they play Mathopoly”

– Kyla Duncan – Wheat City Journal

2. Sum Swamp

Add and subtract your way through the swamp.  Young children get to practise their essential arithmetic facts while having fun.  This game received an Oppenheim Best Toy Award.

What parents say “I bought this for my 4 year old son as he HATED math with worksheets and flashcards. He wanted to play this game 10 times a day. He LOVES it! Before we bought this game, he was SLOWLY and reluctantly finger-counting addition. He can now add and subtract 2 numbers (1-6) by memory.”—customer from Texas

The Maths Insider Guide to the Best Parent - Tested Math Products

3. Equate

If your eight year old likes crosswords, this game will be a hit.  Making equations can be a challenge. Eight year olds can begin making equations  using addition and subtraction but older children can get more points using division or fraction tiles.

What parents say “It’s given my daughter great self-confidence in Math. Only complaint:The tiles are cardboard and thin. Easy to lose, but they come in a ziploc type bag.”—Elizabeth M.

4. Head Full of Numbers

Shake the “head” cup to roll the dice. Set the sand timer. Write as many equations from the numbers and symbols on the dice before sand runs out. Good for any number of players and level.  This is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award Winner.

What parents say “My oldest plays the traditional way, in making math problems. My preschooler tries to find matching numbers and sequences, and my other preschooler tries to identify the numbers. It is such a simple game that you can make up your own way to use it and play it.”—J. Gardiner 

5. Sequence Numbers

The brightly colored cards have questions and the answers are printed on the game board.  Place a tile on the answer. With five in a row, you have a Sequence!  This bingo-like game is great for ages seven and older.

What parents say “Thus, whether you use the game cards or make up your own more challenging cards, this game will be fun as well as educational for your smart pre-schooler, your struggling grade-schooler, or even your genius middle- or high-schooler.” –Joan A. 

6. Money Bags: A Coin Value Game

This game makes making change so much fun!  Earn money while completing chores, like setting the table or for selling lemonade. The spinner makes exceptions such as, no nickels to make sure kids make use of the higher value coins. Monet bags is great for developing critical thinking and counting/coin sense.

What parents say “ It’s a game that is easy to learn and fun for the whole family! ”—a mom 

7. Pizza Fraction Fun Game

Better be hungry for pizza as you play seven games in one!  Identifying, adding and subtracting and matching equivalents help make making pizzas and working with fractions fun. The double sided spinners allow the difficulty level to be easily adjusted.

What parents say “I think this is an excellent game for teaching the different skills to do with learning fractions and can be easily improvised for each child’s learning/grade level. The games can be also be complemented with real pizza:)Recommended!”—J. Hayes

8. Dino Math Tracks Place Value Game

Dinosaurs rule with place value.  Roll the dice to make four digit numbers. Get your dinos to their base before other players do.  An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award Winner.

What parents say “ Good concept and she is learning without even knowing she is doing math. ”—G.K.

9. Sumoku

Play five different versions, including a solo one, of this addition/multiplication game.  Set tiles up crossword style to add up to multiples of the number on a die.  Connect all the numbers for a complete Sumoku!

What parents say “I highly recommend Sumoku to anyone looking for a fun, challenging game.”—P. Yocem


10. Pay Day Board Game

Family finance is fun in Pay Day.  Get paid and decide how to spend your money. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins.  This classic game is for suitable for ages eight and up.

What parents say “This game is very fun. it can be as long or as short (time wise) as you want it. You learn about money and bills and such, but don’t really see it as a learning game because its fun….”—a kid’s review

Have you played any math board games recently? Which are your favorite ones?

The Maths Insider Guide to the Best Parent - Tested Math Products

Is College Still Worth It? (Yup, Especially If You Study Math)

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Are the thousands of hours, pints of sweat and bucket loads of stress worth it, not to mention the bank breaking amount of dollars that students need to invest these days to earn a university degree? Well it certainly seems so according to the infographic by Degree Jungle below. A Bachelors Degree gives college graduates nearly a million dollar advantage in terms of lifetime income than a High School Diploma. Of course famous exceptions such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson have still managed to support themselves rather well without a university education, but for the average person, a college degree looks like a good bet.

When it comes to math, surveys have found that in recent years those who held the job title of Mathematician had a median annual income of ,160 and that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees all have one thing in common — math skills (Source: Math is also a major component of many of the coolest careers out there. I’m firmly in the camp that says a college degree involving even a moderate level of math is an even better bet.

So check out the infographic below (click here if you’re reading this in your email browser to see the full infographic) then answer the question Is College Still Worth It?

By Degree Jungle Is College Still Worth It

Conquer Maths: Why Your Teen Really Should Try This UK Maths Program

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An overview

Conquer Maths is an online maths program designed to teach maths to children from the age of four all the way to the age of eighteen using the UK National Curriculum. The course allows children to go through and find their weak areas and pin point lessons that will assist in overcoming them. The ability to go through the video lessons at their own pace makes them more comfortable and the learning process is easier. The friendly video tutor explains each step slowly and clearly. The program uses achievement certificates to motivate students.

Because Conquer Maths uses the UK maths curriculum all the way through to GCSE’s and A-Level’s it’s great for those families whose children are in British schools. My 11 and 13 year olds have used the program for over 2 years to help them independently access the GCSE syllabus, so as well as supporting children who are struggling with maths, it can be used to extend your child’s maths work. Here’s an example of one of their video lessons:

What are the pros and cons of Conquer Maths?


  • Diagnostic tests – students can take free tests to show just where their weaknesses are and give them tips to overcome them. There are recommendations for specific lessons to help fill in the missing knowledge areas.
  • Work at your own Pace – The student can work at a pace that is comfortable to them as a result of the ability to stop and restart the lessons featured.
  • Parent Dashboard – parents can see exactly how their child is doing by logging in to the parent dashboard. Parents are also emailed when their child completes a unit test.
  • It’s great value for money, especially if you sign up more than one child. The price is as low as £5 a month if you pay up front for 1 year for 3 children


  • The fact that the instruction is strictly online eliminates the one on one that can be achieved in the classroom meaning that parents have to take an active role in helping their child learn.
  • The animation is not as good as other programs such as Maths-Whizz which may be fine for older kids but younger children are usually more motivated by a higher level of online interaction. On another note, others like my older daughter might not like sitting and watching the videos at all and might prefer more written examples.

Who will it work for?

The program will work for any student that is motivated and wants to learn. The ease of being able to set your own pace as you work is what makes the program so easy to follow. Step by step instructions through the difficult portions of the work make it ideal for those that have difficulty in the classroom but are too embarrassed to ask questions.

Who won’t it work for?

The Conquer Maths program won’t work for those students that aren’t motivated to learn on their own. Also those who are motivated by sophisticated graphics and need a variety of online rewards.

Here’s the low down

Students that are struggling with math can get the extra attention in the areas that require it the most with Conquer Maths. An assessment of the existing skills allows the student to target the areas that are giving them the most trouble. The student receives suggestions about the lessons that will be most beneficial to them so time is not wasted trying to figure out what to do next. Those who are using Conquer Maths to study advanced topics can make use of the same structured curriculum to make sure they cover the topics in the right order.

Lessons are in video form with immediate reinforcement that allows students to rewind, review and answer questions immediately after. The students also get to print out worksheets to do later if they want to review the material and figure out how much of the lesson they’ve remembered.

I recommend Conquer Maths for children aged 11 and over. I think programs like Maths Whizz are better suited for younger children.

Conquer Maths has over 150 free lessons for your child to try to see if it’s program will work well for your child. Have a go and let me know what you think!



8 Ways to Get the Most Out Of Your Child’s Online Math Tutor


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This is a guest post by Alice from

Today, tutors are considered important not only for students who have learning difficulties or are having issues understanding a particular topic, but for those who want their kids to do well in tough subjects like math and get better grades. Although tutoring costs, often parents don’t mind paying for the promise of a better future for their children.

With hectic schedules and transportation issues, parent’s are increasingly turning to online tutoring to get that essential help for their child. However, many parents ask if they can do something to get the most out of their child’s online tutor, especially since the relationship can often be different than if the tutor were teaching in your home. Read through the  steps outlined below to ensure that online tutoring ends up being a positive experience.

Photo by Mike Licht

1. Figure out what exactly you want your child to get out of the tutoring and select the tutor accordingly. Do you need an online tutor who has taught young children before or do you need a calculus expert? Does your child need general math support or are they preparing for a specific math test?

2. Explore a number of online tutoring sites. Check out their “About” page, click around the site to see what qualifications their tutors hold and find out how they filter their tutors (you can sometimes find valuable information by reading the information for potential tutors)

3. Keep an eye on how the tutor is teaching by sitting in on the lesson (or listening in from another room). You’ll want to avoid the situation where the online tutor actually does the student’s work instead of teaching them the underlying concepts. This will negatively affect the student’s abilities and confidence.

4. Choose a tutor to suit your child’s learning style. By opting for the right tutor, you can help your child to develop other positive traits as well. For instance, some tutors will help your child to develop a sense of order in their math work and others may encourage them to think creatively about math.

5. Choose a tutor who can communicate well with your child, and not just about math. Share the interests of your child. If your child is a fan of baseball, a tutor can use baseball examples to explain mathematical concepts.

Photo by Nick Sherman

6. Be realistic. Don’t expect overnight improvement. By all means have high expectations from the tutor, but avoid having unrealistic expectations. This will put less pressure on the tutor and will enable them to perform better. Discuss targets and expectations in advance to avoid any misunderstandings.

7. Make sure the technology works on your side. A fast internet connection is essential, but also make sure others in the house aren’t using valuable bandwidth by streaming movies during your child’s lesson. Be on hand to sort out any technical problems.

8. Get regular feedback.Some tutoring sites offer scheduled parent conferences. Attending these online conferences is a great way of judging the progress of a tutor as well as a student. At the very least ask for the tutor’s email and email questions and requests for feedback on a regular basis.

Online tutoring can be as effective as in-person tutoring. By following the steps above and supporting both your child and the tutor, you’ll soon see an increase in your child’s math ability and confidence.

Alice writes for which provides live, online tutor services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

17 Math Links to Get Your Child’s School Year Off to a Flying Start

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You’ve bought the school equipment, packed the lunch boxes and have said or are about to say goodbye to your child as they start back to school after the summer break. However it’s likely that your child has lost at least some of the math gains they made over the previous year (a Duke University study found that some students lose up to 3 months of learning!) Have no fear, follow the steps below and check out the following links to get your child back on the math track.

Polish mental arithmetic skills

Math lessons will always go smoother if your child has the basics sorted. Confidence in core skills, like addition, subtraction and the times tables will help them in the other areas of math and science. Find why mental math skills are so important (and why some disagree) in No No No Don’t Let Your Child Finger Count. Build your own mental math program using the advice in the short Who Wants Their Child to be Lightening Fast at Mental Maths video series. Finally break through the times tables with your child, whatever their learning style using Maths Insider’s very own tried and tested 31 Days to Faster Times Tables program

Check out additional tutoring

Whether your child is struggling with math or you want to stretch their skills, you could join the mass of parents who supplement their children’s school math (60% of Palo Alto, California parents supplement their child’s math). My own kids use online math programs Math-Whizz (US, UK and India 5-12 years old) and Conquer Maths (UK 4 – 17 yrs old) but you can see which other online programs get the Maths Insider seal of approval in the Maths Insider Online Math Programs Awards

When it comes to offline learning, math tuition centres around the world are bursting at the seams. If you’ve been tempted by adverts for Kumon, the biggest name in center based math tuition, then the truly insider information in The Ultimate Kumon Review will help you decide if Kumon or other copycat tuition centers will work for your child.

If you suspect that individual private tuition might work best for your child, especially as a short term solution to a specific math issue then check out how to choose the best in Math Tutor. A low cost option is to tutor your child yourself. Find out how in the free eBook Yes! You Can Be Your Child’s Math Tutor

Bring math into your everyday life

As well as daily math lessons at school, highlight the math that surrounds your child in  their everyday life. My kids and I had some fun speculating about the math of our Neighbours Lamborghini and Bon Crowder’s membership program That’s Math will have your child pondering the math behind shampoo bottles, bathroom tiles and lots more math around the home. The Back to School Super Math Giveaway from Bon and I also has some great free resources to help you kick start your child’s school year. Nice short activities and math talking points can be found in the daily posts from Bedtime Math and little ones will have fun with any of the 24 Short and Sweet Math Activities for Preschoolers


Make math cool!

Do your kids know just how cool math is? 21 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Maths will show them cool career options open to those who enjoy mathand Math for Grownups has interviews with regular people who use math in their jobs. Teens and preteens will get a kick from the short but entertaining video presentations in Ted Talks to Get Your Teen Excited About Math

Take a look at the 17 links above and soon you and your child will have plenty of actionable tips to make this year a great year for math!



10 Super Hands-On Pinterest Preschool Math Activities


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Are you on Pinterest? When it comes to websites that suck you in, like Facebook and Houzz, Pinterest is at least filled with great ideas to go along with the beautifully laid out pictures. There are lots of great math activities for preschoolers on Pinterest that can make learning math easy and fun for the younger ones in your household. The best part about the activities below is that they are inexpensive and you can recycle items that you already have on hand.

1. Edible Addition Math – use white icing and chic chips or for a savory alternative try Philadelphia and olives to make these edible dominoes on crackers or toast.

 2. M&M Sorting and GraphingGive your child a bag of M&M’s (Yum Yum!) and a mat for sorting the colors. If the mat is black and white let the children color it first, the mats should be laminated. The kid’s will use the mat to place M&M’s on the correct color. You can assist them in counting the M&Ms as well.


3.   Ice Cube Adding Tray – Grab an ice cube tray, some small items such as buttons, dried beans or sweets and write some addition sums on pieces of paper or card to do with your child.


4.  Lego Math  – Turn a basic Lego set into a math tool with a marker and a little imagination. Making sure to use the same colors for the same steps in the problem use the flat pieces to put the symbols on and the raised pieces as the numbers in the equations.
5.  How Many Lego – Create a number grid and have children sort Lego by color, size or both and count how many.
6. Hopscotch – attach numbers to fabric, and let the kids play hopscotch. It’s that simple. Reuse the fabric number tiles to play number hide and seek.
7.  Milk Cap Math– Save the caps from your milk, soda, water, juice or whatever to use with the activities. Using a range of different colors can allow children to sort them by color. Number the caps, and put them in order beginning with one, look for patterns of color as well or line up tiles under the correct number cap. Grab some dice for some number matching or addition and subtraction practice.

8. Math Bags – Use colored bags to sort objects such as bottle caps, toy cars, sweets or craft supplies by color. Write numbers or sums on the front of the bag to help your child get used to counting out objects.
9. Counting with Beads Write the numbers 1 to 10 on small slips of colored paper or sticky notes. Then wrap numbered paper labels around the end of pipe cleaners. Have your child slide the correct number of beads onto each pipe cleaner.
10. Estimating – Take a jar and place everyday items into it for children to guess the amount. Use edible treats to offer as a prize when they get the right answer.

 Find these and other hands on math ideas on the Maths Insider pinterest board at

For more preschool ideas from check out 24 Short and Sweet Preschool Math Activities here on Maths Insider!

DragonBox – The Most Fun Algebra App Ever (Seriously!)


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If you’ve got a child who loves playing mobile games, let me introduce you to DragonBox.  DragonBox is a revolutionary new game that will help your child enjoy learning algebra while progressing at their own pace. I’ve reviewed some great iPad apps before but this cool game deserves a post of its own.

The people behind DragonBox have created a game that lets children experience algebra concepts as a real game that is actually fun! After only an hour of playing, they’ll be able to solve mathematical equations and have fun doing it too! Move the picture boxes around the screen using the game rules (the rules of algebra) and try to isolate the dragon box.


The DragonBox game has been tested in schools in France and in Norway, where the results showed increased understanding of basic mathematics and the improved ability to solve equations. My own 11 and 12 year olds enjoyed competing to complete the DragonBox+ version (with 100 extra levels), my daughter even replaying levels to get the full 3 stars in each level. I also caught my husband moving the colorful boxes around the screen and muttering how cool it was.



I’ve read that children as young as 5 years old have learned the ideas behind solving algebraic equations using this game. It really is a great game for parents to play along with their kids – and freshen up their own math skills! It’s game-like enough for my 3 year old to have completed a few levels (with lots of help from me!) Starting with removing starbursts, and moving on to adding negative dragons to both sides, DragonBox introduces dividing and multiplying terms in the same step by step, easy to understand way.

This game is great for young kids who have never heard of algebra as well as for older kids who don’t completely understand the usual “we move this one over here and divide this one” type explanations. Read the reviews on iTunes and Google Play to see just how much kids (and grown ups) are loving this game.

DragonBox+ contains an additional 100 standard equations featuring good old fashioned letters, to help your child become a real master of algebra, even finding equations like the one below easy to solve!

DragonBox and DragonBox+ are universal apps. Buy once and play on your iPad (like my kids) or on your iPhone (like me and my husband.)

Both games are also available as Android Apps.