As summer days heat up and your kids look for activities to cool off, you don't have to worry about all the time they spend on your smart phone or tablet as long as the apps they choose are learning focused. Your child's teachers will be happy, too, when they discover next Fall that your child is ahead of the curve from all the learning this summer. To help you find the best ones, here are eight great iPad, iPhone, Nook, and Android apps that make learning math into a game. (We've recently covered reading apps here.)
A Note About Learning Math: Math is happening around us all day long. For kids, tasks like setting the table, matching socks and shoes, saving up for a special toy, and keeping track of the score at their sibling's soccer game means using math in meaningful ways. Encourage kids to take an active role in daily tasks that involve math. Praise them for becoming "mathematicians" with all the math they do every day!
Now to the apps!
Apps for Learning Numbers
Suggested ages: 3 to 5
What it teaches: Math (Counting/Reasoning, Number Recognition)
Why we recommend it: TallyTots makes learning numbers so much fun. Kids practice counting from 1 to 20 while tapping and playing short engaging games for each number. There is a cute number song that kids love to sing along with in the app. A great app for learning numbers and quantities.
Apple: iPhone, iPad Get it here, $0.99.*
Android: From Amazon Get it here, $0.99.*
Nook: Color, Tablet Get it here, $1.99.*
i Learn With Boing: Savannah Adventures! HD
Suggested ages: 3 to 6
What it teaches: Math (Operations, Counting/Reasoning, Number Recognition)
Why we recommend it: In Savannah Adventures math learning is tucked into delightful games kids love to play. Games include number and quantity identification with meerkats, number ordering with frogs, and a delightful early exposure addition and subtraction game with ostriches that encourages parents to get on the device too. Each game is highly repeatable and the progress level adjusts and is reported right in the app. Learn more about why we love this app at KinderTown.
Apple: iPad Get it here, $0.99.*
Apps for Mental Math with Operations
Suggested ages: 6 and up
What it teaches: Math (Operations)
Why we recommend it: Mental math was never so much fun before Operation Math. Practice quickly computing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to unlock levels and gear in the app. Mental math practice is something your child will be asking to do with this engaging game. Parent don't have to feel guilty as this kind of practice gives kids an advantage when solving more sophisticated problems when they get older.
Apple: iPhone, iPad Get it here, $2.99.*
Android: From Amazon Get it here, $2.99.*
Nook: Color, Tablet Get it here, $2.99.*
Suggested ages: 6 and up
What it teaches: Math (Operations, Logic Games)
Why we recommend it: Numbers League is one the most exciting math apps we have reviewed. The challenging gameplay gets kids thinking about building quantities in a variety of ways. This app goes far beyond fact memorization, but encourages learning about number relationships. An app the whole family will enjoy. Read more about why we love this app at KinderTown
Apple: iPad Get it here, $3.99.*
Math Games Kids Beg to Play
Marble Math Jr.
Suggested ages: 5 to adult
What it teaches: Math (Operations, Counting/Reasoning, Sequencing, Shapes, Time, Fractions, Money)
Why we recommend it: Marble Math Junior takes traditional math concepts and uses game play to get kids to solve problems and thin strategically. Instead of tapping the answers, your young child needs to weave in and out of a marble maze to identify the correct answers. The app gets tough, but kids love the challenge! Have an older child? Check out Marble Math for ages 8 and up. Read more about why we love this app at KinderTown.
Apple: Universal. Get it here, $1.99.*
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
Suggested ages: 3 to 5
What it teaches: Math (Counting, Shapes, Sequencing) Language (Letters and Sounds)
Why we recommend it: Monkey Preschool Lunchbox takes basic early learning concepts and wraps them up with stickers, praise, bright colors and a silly monkey. Kids can't get enough of this app! Moms see their kids learning about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching and more while the kids just think they get to play.
Apple: Universal Get it here, $1.99.*
Android: From Google Play Get it here, $1.99.*
Apps for Learning Shapes
My First Tangrams
Suggested ages: 5 to 7
What it teaches: Math (Shapes, Logic Games)
Why we recommend it: My First Tangrams is filled with shape puzzles perfect for learning shapes, colors and building spatial reasoning skills. Pictures come alive as shapes are placed on the screen, like a puzzle. 36 tangrams that range from easy to hard keep kids engaged. Build your own tangrams at home to extend the learning off the app too.
Apple: iPhone, iPad. Get it here, $1.99.*
Android: From Amazon. Get it here, $1.99.*
Suggested ages: 4 to 6
What it teaches: Math (Shapes)
Why we recommend it: GazziliShapes encourages learning about shapes in everyday objects. An easy app for your child to pick up and use independently. Six levels progressively unlock as your child completes each increasingly harder scene. The narration is cute and teaches not only the names of the shapes, but what they look like and how to find the shapes around your house.
Apple: iPhone, iPad. Get it here, FREE.*
*Price as of publication date
Carolina Nugent is an experienced educator and the Director of Education for KinderTown, an educational app store that helps busy parents find the best apps for young kids. Sometimes referred to as the "Chief Curation Officer," she's evaluated more than 1,000 apps for kids. See more of her reviews in the FREE KinderTown App, available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.