There are a lot of changes we're all dealing with during the #lockdown. As a mum of a school-going child, the biggest – and most challenging – change for me is home-schooling. Home-work is one thing – it's manageable – but being your child's primary educational source a.k.a teacher for the near future is another ball game altogether!
In the few weeks that I've taken on this task, I find Little Man responds to online learning much better (you can't take screens away from today's generation). And I admit, it gives me a break too. There are a number of online learning sites we visit for Math, English and everything in between, but this new-one-on-the-block has got my homeschooler hooked! Calculators.org has an arcade of free online learning games which seamlessly open up in a new tab with no branding, advertisements or other distracting elements (we all know how fickle a child's attention span is) and no navigation required. Which means children can learn math in a fun manner yet in a focused environment. Another plus point is that the games don't require email sign-ups or logins, so can be accessed easily by children without adult supervision.
We've tried a number of the games over the Easter holidays, and here is my honest review of them.
Different levels for different age groups/ abilities
My first thumbs-up goes to the fact that the difficulty levels for each game are clearly stated on a scale of 1 to 10. So one doesn't waste time figuring out which games are best suited to their child's abilities.
Games like Math Boy, Sinal Game, Maths Test, Math Speed and Educational Math 4 Kids are among the easier games suitable for younger children who have just learnt the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Math Boy involves solving equations that fight off monsters. It's great for a quick revision or a quick practice. Perfect for learning one math operator at a time or practicing multiple in conjunction.
Sinal Game makes you think quick – a perfect case of 'You snooze, you loose'. It involves selecting the correct mathematical operator to complete the given equation.
Maths Test is a speed-based math quiz game where a single incorrect answer ends the game. There are two choices – one is the correct answer, the other is the wrong answer. The easy mode has addition problems whereas the hard mode includes subtraction, multiplication and division.
Math Speed is another slow-paced animated 'video-game' like game where a fox has three lives with each wrong or unanswered answer leading to a lost life.
Educational Math 4 Kids has more choices in that children can choose to learn or practice using units, tens, hundreds or thousands. Unlike the other games that are multiple-choice, this one requires the answers to be manually entered, making it a bit more challenging. But great for learning!
Games such as Crazy Math Game, True Number Operator and Quick Math Practice are more fast-paced and are for older children who have learnt advanced Math or those with stronger Math skills. In most of these games, if you get the wrong answer, the game is over and you have to start a new round to beat your previous score. No second chances here!
"It feels like a video-game"
This is what my son said when I asked him what he thought of the games. And I agree! The fact that the games are all time-based, have great graphics like the Zombie Number and the Math Game for Kids, and even an optional soundtrack to keep the memento up and the pace fast, does make it seem as though the kids are playing a video game. Which, for todays's tech-savvy kids, entices them to think fast and act faster – and if it makes learning Math fun, I see it as a win!
Choose your Math task
What I also like about this site is that while some games are a mix of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, there is also a clear section on each, making it easier to practice or learn what your child wants or needs. Count Fingers is the perfect game for beginner level math whereas Grocery Cashier is great for applying math to day-to-day life as it familiarises students with addition and making change on cash purchases.
Games like The Highest, Complete the Sequence and Number in Order teach Numerical Basics – again great for beginners – and then there are Logic-based Math Games for older kids such as Get Twelve and Master Sudoku. For those that want to go a step further and add a spot of science too, there are a number of Physics Games.
And last but not the least, it's not just all about numbers. There are also Puzzles, Memory Matching Games and Alphabet Games that introduce pre-schoolers to the concept of maths and solving problems via puzzles, colouring and fun activities. There really is something for every age and ability!