While it might seem unlikely that “math” and “fun” can exist in the same sentence, it's easier than you think.
There is a googolplex of math-related games and apps for smartphones and tablets, just waiting to be played by eager learners. And, believe it or not, they make math fun.
Read on for 12 fun apps that make math a "piece of pi" for kids of all ages (on Pi Day and every day).
Parents of toddlers and preschoolers searching for their first math app can count on Counting Caterpillar. The game teaches number recognition and sequences as little fingers feed the hungry caterpillar with the next number in the sequence.
The app even grows with your child, with levels for counting by 2s, 5s and 10s, as well as random sequences to test their number knowledge. Counting Caterpillar is a simple app that teaches essential counting skills.
Cyberchase Shape Quest is based on the long-running PBS Kids series that teaches kids that math is everywhere. A unique app composed of three geometry-based games, Cyberchase Shape Quest uses the iPad’s camera for an augmented reality board game. (The board game requires a free, printed game board found on the PBS site.)
Kids 6-9 years old can not only put their spatial reasoning and puzzle solving skills to the test, but also get moving around the house.
Dragon Shapes is a bright, bold math app that gets your kids looking at shapes in a whole new way. Players will turn and move geometric shapes to fit into 50 puzzles that will challenge them and help teach valuable problem-solving skills.
While the app is free, a one-time $2.99 in-app purchase is needed to unlock the remaining levels.
Kids who need more practice adding and subtracting (or just plain enjoy it) can board Lola’s Math Train 2. The app provides 11 math challenges, including addition and subtraction, puzzles, patterns, multiplication and more. The game even adjusts to the player’s pace, getting progressively harder when one skill is mastered.
From the creators of Marble Math (for ages 9-11) comes Marble Math Jr., aimed at kids 5-8 years old. The game encourages players to complete mental math problems, work on their skills telling time, and identify fractions. As they play, kids unlock new marbles and try to beat the current high score.
For an extra challenge, players can even tilt and turn the iPhone or iPad to move the marble to the correct answer.
Of course Pi Day (and every day) calls for a pizza pie. Your kid is the boss in Motion Math: Pizza!, an outstanding app that combines math with basic economy concepts.
Your small business owners run their own pizzeria, where they control everything from ingredient inventory to working the cash register. Players even get to design and bake their pizza — but is it what the customer wants?
Math and mystery pair up in this ingenious app adventure. Mystery Math Museum feels more like a game than an educational app, as kids explore the spooky halls of a museum to rescue the dragonflies caught inside.
Each room of the museum is interactive, and to unlock the next door, kids must solve a math puzzle to open the way. Players ages 6-12 can work on their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, all while the mysteries of the museum unfold.
Small kids who are just learning their numbers can practice their number recognition skills with Teacher Tilly in this colorful app. Numbers and Counting — Teacher Tilly also encourages counting up to 20, as well as placing numbers in the correct sequence.
If your toddler or preschooler is ready to work on their budding math skills, Tilly can be one of their first teachers.
Elementary school students who are learning how to add, are memorizing their multiplication tables, or are just in need of a little extra math practice get some adorable help in Pet Bingo. Kids can take a break from plain math flashcards with the colorful, charming pets in this remarkable app.
When the correct answer to a math problem is chosen, a marker is placed on the Pet Bingo board. Get enough answers right to make a bingo, and you win! Not only do kids up to fourth grade get some math practice in, they’ll also collect cute pets to take care of and feed.
Quick Math+ focuses on training players’ mental math skills. Well-suited for kids in grades 5-8, the app comes with four different game modes to challenge young (or not-so-young) minds. Quick Math+ quizzes players on math equations, including problems with negative numbers and order of operations, and also tests memory and estimation.
Unlike most math apps for kids, in Quick Math+ the numbers and answers can be drawn on the screen with a finger, rather than merely tapping a multiple-choice button for the answer.
Slice Fractions combines the captivating fun of slicing games like Cut the Rope with math and physics concepts appropriate for players in grades 2-4. As kids slice through ice and lava to help the woolly mammoth make its way through the game, they’ll learn fractions as the levels increase in difficulty.
There are no spoken tutorials or step-by-step math lessons; Slice Fractions is all game. Kids learn concepts as complex as fraction subtraction through hints and gameplay in each of the 60 levels.
The Math Tree is a beautiful, simple app that uses birds and fruits in the trees to teach preschoolers and kindergartners how to add and subtract. No reading is required — the clear narration describes walks the player through each problem.
Budding mathematicians can tap each bird in the tree to count it, working their way up to learning mental math skills to add and subtract without counting fingers.