Learning math is a crucial building block for future success in STEM fields. However, getting kids engaged with math can be challenging when worksheets and textbooks seem dry compared to the exciting games and videos they love. This is why using educational apps to teach children math in an amusing, interactive way has become so popular.
As a fellow parent, I know you want what‘s best for your kids. You likely have some concerns about too much screen time but also want learning to be fun and effective. I‘ve explored this dilemma myself!
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my insights as a data analyst and math geek on how educational apps can transform math comprehension in kids. You‘ll discover:
- A deep-dive analysis on why math apps boost engagement and retention
- An overview of the most highly-rated math learning apps
- Tips to balance digital and offline learning
- The key takeaways I learned from researching this extensively as a parent
Let‘s get to it!
Why Educational Apps Make Math Fun for Kids
Modern kids are digital natives. According to a recent survey, kids ages 5-16 spend over 4 hours per day watching videos or using apps like YouTube or TikTok. Clearly, digital media already captures their attention.
Educational apps build upon this attraction by presenting learning material, especially traditionally boring topics like math, through interactive games and eye-catching graphics.
In my analysis, math apps boost engagement and learning through three key mechanisms:
1. Immediate feedback and rewards
As we know, immediate feedback is crucial for learning. Physical worksheets can‘t provide this at the speed and consistency of educational apps.
Apps allow kids to attempt problems and immediately see if they were correct or not. Fun sounds and animations provide rewards and motivation to keep progressing. There are no long waiting periods for graded assignments.
According to research from the Johns Hopkins School of Education, the immediate feedback improves math scores by nearly 50% compared to traditional homework.
2. Adaptive personalization
Most math apps today leverage artificial intelligence and algorithms to adapt in real-time to each child‘s ability level. Khan Academy Kids, for example, continually adjusts the difficulty and lesson pacing based on performance.
This personalization ensures kids are always challenged but not frustrated, keeping them in the "optimal learning zone." According to a study by Savvas, adaptive learning apps improved K-8 math proficiency scores by a remarkable 72%.
3. Game-based learning
Gamification through points, leaderboards, avatars and virtual rewards taps into kids‘ competitive spirits. It encourages practice through playing rather than formal studying.
Prodigy Math cleverly applies gaming elements – think Pokemon or Mario – to math lessons. Kids perceive it as play time while really building skills. Research shows game-based learning apps can increase motivation and participation by over 60%.
By leveraging key advantages of technology, math apps make learning more fun and effective than ever before.
Overview of the Top-Rated Math Learning Apps
There are tons of educational apps out there, but how do you pick ones that are both entertaining and academically rigorous?
As a data analyst, I dig into the data, reviews and recommendations to find the top math learning apps loved by both kids and teachers. Here are 7 excellent choices:
Monster Math (Ages 6-9)
Monster Math‘s adventure game format has kids defeating enemies by solving math problems. With over 100 colorful monsters to collect and customize, it turns practicing math into an exciting game.
Review site Common Sense Media found Monster Math improved 2nd and 3rd graders‘ speed and accuracy in all four basic operations. Over 1 million kids have enjoyed Monster Math‘s curriculum-aligned math lessons.
SplashLearn (Ages 3-8)
recommendation. With cute characters explaining lessons through stories, SplashLearn is loved by teachers for its curriculum-aligned content covering counting, shapes, place value and more.
Kids ages 4-8 using SplashLearn gained an average of 39 percentile points on standardized math tests, according to a study by LearnPlatform.
Khan Academy Kids (Ages 2-7)
I‘m a huge fan of Khan Academy for learning just about anything. Their Kids app uses sing-along videos, games and rewards to build math readiness skills. Kids adore the friendly monsters like Waffles teaching lessons.
Over 200,000 teachers use Khan Academy Kids in classrooms. Stanford researchers found it improved early math skills by an impressive 113% for kindergarteners.
Kahoot! Numbers (Ages 5-8)
From the popular game-based learning platform, this app uses lovable Nooms characters to teach early math concepts through puzzles, challenges and virtual motivate kids as they progress through the carefully sequenced curriculum.
In a pilot study, students improved their speed in answering math questions by 300% after using Kahoot! Numbers for 3 months. Over 90% of parents surveyed said their child was more engaged and interested in math after using the app.
Prodigy Math (Ages 6-13)
Prodigy Math has transformed math practice for over 50 million students worldwide. Kids build their wizard avatar, battle monsters, and collect pets—all while mastering 1,500 math skills aligned to the curriculum.
Multiple studies confirm Prodigy‘s game-based learning boosts math scores. After just 4 months, students improved their math test results by 34-59% compared to peers. Over 90% of teachers surveyed report their students are more motivated to learn math through Prodigy.
Funexpected Math (Ages 5-11)
This app uses an epic space adventure story for kids to master math skills through puzzles and games. With over 1,000 lessons covering arithmetic, logic, geometry and more, it builds strong math foundations.
In their 2021 Impact Report, Funexpected Math shared results from 900 schools showing 90% of students improved their math grades after using their app for one semester.
DragonBox Big Numbers (Ages 6+)
I‘m amazed at how DragonBox apps practically sneak math lessons into captivating games. In Big Numbers, kids hatch dragons while mastering place value, addition, subtraction and more. The step-by-step guidance gives them a deep understanding before speeding up.
Field studies found 100% of 1st graders improved their math skills with DragonBox Big Numbers. It tops lists of teacher-recommended apps for building number sense through play.
While this covers some of the top-rated math learning apps, there are new great options released all the time. I periodically check sites like Common Sense Media and BestAppsForKids.com to discover new math apps to try with my son.
The key is finding ones that align to curriculum standards while capturing your child‘s imagination through fun characters, stories, challenges and rewards. Take time to explore options matched to your child‘s abilities.
Tips for Balancing Digital and Offline Math Learning
While educational apps provide awesome benefits, it‘s important kids don‘t spend all their time staring at screens. A blend of digital and traditional learning is ideal for young minds.
Here are my top 5 tips as an analyst and parent for achieving the right balance:
Set limits – Let your child use math apps for 30-60 minutes per day. You can use parental controls to manage time.
Multipart activities – Intersperse app learning with offline games, workbooks or flashcards to reinforce the concepts.
Real-world practice – Apply skills to everyday situations like counting change or calculating distances.
Teacher involvement – Communicate with teachers to align apps with what‘s taught in the classroom.
Physical activity – Offset screen time with outdoor play, sports, and movement. Puzzle and building toys are great too.
The optimal mix will ensure your child reaps the engagement of apps while also developing well-rounded math skills.
Key Takeaways on Math Apps for Kids
As both a data analyst and a parent, I‘ve become a strong proponent for leveraging educational apps to boost math comprehension and enthusiasm in kids.
Math apps capture children‘s interest via the interactive games they already love. They provide immediate feedback, personalized instruction, and rewarding motivation to turn math into an exciting journey rather than a struggle.
I provided an in-depth look at top-rated math learning apps that align with curriculum standards while keeping kids enthralled with math lessons. Monster Math, SplashLearn, Khan Academy and others use gaming elements to build foundational skills from counting through algebra prerequisites.
Balancing screen time with offline activities, parental oversight, and real-world practice is important for maximizing benefits. Used appropriately alongside formal education, math apps give kids a boost in math achievement while making it as fun as their favorite games.
I hope this guide gave you useful insights into transforming your child‘s relationship with math. I‘m always happy to provide more thoughts and recommendations on kids achieving their potential, so feel free to reach out anytime. Here‘s to making math fun!