By Michael Hartley
Every parent spends money on toys and games for kids - and we always hope our money will be well-spent. So we ask friends for recommendations, we try to imagine what our kids will like... and we read online reviews!
Since starting this website full of free math games for kids, I've started to write reviews on games I've seen and my kids have tried. Read on...
Junior Monopoly is a simplified version of the game everone knows, designed to make it playable by kids as young as 4 or 5. It is complex enough to be an interesting game, but is almost purely a game of chance - so kids will win against their parents sometimes, fair and square. It was not designed to be educational, but it can teach simple arithmetic skills such as addition, subtraction, and money concepts (including giving change), especially if you apply some of the tips in my review. I rate it : Fun=5 Stars, Educational value=2 stars.
Klikko is a construction toy whose pieces are regular polygons. They join together with plastic joiners. The designers clearly had some mathematical knowledge - for example, the large set provides just enough pentagons to make a dodecahedron - that must have been a deliberate choice. On my review page, I've put a video so you can see Klikko in action, and how I used it to help my son understand a problem in a grade 4 practice test. I rate it : Fun=4½ Stars, Educational value=3½ stars.
Arithmemouse and Timez Attack are two computer video games which aim to teach kids times tables facts. Both are proper 3D games, works of professional game designers. Arithmemouse is pitched at younger kids, as a good introduction to times tables. Timez Attack will work better for older kids. While both a high in educational value, Timez Attack is slightly higher. I've also written a detailed comparison of the two games. I rate Timez Attack : Fun=4½ stars, Educational value=5 stars. Arithmemouse : Fun=4½ stars, Educational value=4½ stars
If you like what you've just read, sign up for this site's free newsletters: