Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Editorial Team
The traditional way of solving problems in maths is probably the most trusted one. However, as a child grows, so are the expectations of his/her mental math abilities. One generally assumes a linear graph of the mental math growth in a child as he/she goes into adolescence. As they move to higher classes, less is time given for calculations. More arithmetic is included and calculations are less focused. In all, students are expected to display math fluency without depending on the pen, paper, and calculators.
First, we got to know what we mean by Mental Math.
We will jump right into the definition but first, answer this, what’s 3 + 3?
Almost all of you must have given the right answer most probably within 2 seconds without even touching a pen or paper.
The real question is how?
This is because our brains have already been trained to do simple calculations like these. It has already achieved a state where we no longer require special tools to do basic arithmetic calculations. This ability to do mathematical calculations quickly and without any help is called Mental Math.
Mental Math is our ability to do mathematical calculations in our mind without the help of any device, such as a calculator and mobile phone, etc. The more we develop mental math skills, the faster our brain will have computational power. The level of mental math depends upon the amount of practice and the environment in which we practice our mathematical skills.
All in all mental math is an important skill and you cannot ignore it. The thing is not all are good enough to do the math mentally that smoothly, especially in cases of children with a learning disability such as Dyscalculia. In such a scenario, adapting to a new learning process is a preferable strategy. If that even means starting from level 0.
This post has been developed keeping in mind the little learners who struggle in mental math. One thing that always works out well when dealing with issues in subjects like math is mixing it with fun. There are numerous ways of turning maths into a fun learning subject. One such is to present it to the kids in a form that they like the most.
Yes, you guessed it right! GAMES. May it be indoor, outdoor, board, or mobile games. Kids learn while playing. They develop analytical, strategical, and spatial skills while doing it. Keeping that in mind, we curated a list of the Top 10 best mental maths games for 2022.
Cool games to sharpen your mental math skills
1. Prodigy Game
Prodigy game is the perfect example of ‘learning while playing. It lets you practice concepts of mathematics in an interactive way. As per the description, Prodigy delivers a unique learning experience through an interactive math game where success depends on correctly answering skill-building math questions. Players can earn rewards, go on quests, and play with friends — all while learning new skills.
The app mainly targets kids aged 6-12. Its user base comprises over a million teachers and 50 million students around the world. Parents can monitor their child’s progress through the levels and understanding of the concepts. Teachers should allow students a 10-minute play in class as a reward for completing a task. This will motivate students and give them a sense of achievement.
2. Matific Galaxy
This game is perfect for early learners developing an interest in numbers. Toonish elements in the app really make it interactive for kids in kindergarten. The developer claims the game to improve math scores by 34% by teaching core math skills in a fun, educational, and interactive way.
The best thing about Matific is that it is curriculum-aligned, sort of like doing homework in a fun way. Topics covered include Basic counting, Addition, Subtraction, 2D Shapes, and Measurement. Recommended for kids within the age group 6-8, Matific Galaxy is the perfect educational experience, combining fun and learning. Currently, it sits on more than 10k downloads on Google Play.
3. Toon Math
Toon math is the product mix of popular Endless Runner genre games and math as an educational component. Players need to solve math problems while running and dodging obstacles to save their friends. The game features impressive mechanics, and the transaction from playing to solving math operations is smoothly done. The game tests the automaticity of your mental math skills. The timer on the game ensures that you put your mental maths skills to work.
Amazing graphics and intense gameplay will keep your kid hooked to it for hours. Toon math is a game for almost any age group. Toon math lets you play the game at your own pace. Toon Math is available on the Play Store and Amazon app store at the moment. More than 500,000 users play this game worldwide. It is sitting at 4.5-star ratings at the Android Play Store.
4. Sushi Monster
Developed by the Scholastic educational team, Sushi Monster is a fun game to test and practice your math facts fluency. Users need to solve a series of addition and multiplication problems by feeding the monster numbered plates of sushi. Players are given a series of products and sums. They need to build correct equations to feed the monster within the timeframe. The quicker they give the correct solution, the higher the score will be.
The game tests more than just mental maths fluency, players need to plan ahead, as the order in which they choose sushi plates will determine if they fully complete the level. Sushi Monster is recommended for children aged 6 and older. It is currently sitting at a 4.0-star rating at the app store. At the moment, the Sushi monster has 7 addition levels, 5 multiplication levels, 4 rounds/level, and 14 target numbers/round.
5. Math 24 – Mental Math Cards
Math 24 lets you practice mental math skills with numbers and operators on screen with a single goal of making it to 24. The game has stage mode and speed mode. The latter tests the automaticity level of your grip on math facts. Graphics are minimalistic but adorn the gameplay. The best part is that it tests an individual’s strategic abilities in maths. Kids can use different operators as per their strategy to make it to the 24 number.
The staging mode has 15 levels and 300 well-designed levels with varying difficulty levels. More than 100,000 users play this game worldwide. It’s currently sitting a 4.3-star rating at the Play Store.
6. Todo Math
Todo Math is a great Maths training app that even has a dyslexia font, a left-handed mode, and other accessibility features and even comes in eight languages! Guess, it cannot get more inclusive than that! It also boasts engaging graphics and even adorable collectibles! It covers all early maths fundamentals and has more than 2,000k activities from Pre-K to 2nd Grade. You can also change your child’s level according to their learning graph. So no rush!
7. Hit The Button Maths
Hit the Button Maths aims at improving the mental math of 5-11-year-olds. The gameplay is simple, all you have to do is to hit the correct against the asked question in a given timeframe. There are a variety of levels included, covering topics such as Time Tables, Number Bonds, Division Facts, and Square Numbers.
Other than these, the four standard arithmetic operations are also covered: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. One good thing about this is that the questions are randomly generated. Hence, it is replayable as many times as you want.
8. Math Puzzle, Rize up your mind
This Maths app comes with a Quick Brain trainer which has many levels and mini-games, so anyone can use it to train in mental maths abilities from children to their parents. It is based on the principles of Cognitive psychology and hence the game concentrates on different aspects of maths skills like memory, attention, speed, reaction, concentration, logic, and more. You can also dabble with different strategies like the Schulte table or the True or False game to improve your maths skills. All in all, it is a comprehensive mental maths trainer.
9. Monster Math
Monster Math is an educational adventure platform game that improves over 70 math skills including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions. The gameplay involves guiding the player by giving answers to math equations to kill monsters and obstacles. The best part of the game is the customizability. You can configure the level of the game according to the pace. It covers the age group of students from KG to Grade 5th. As per the description of the game:
Monster Math has something for kids in each grade in primary –
✓ Kindergarten – Basic shape recognition, add within 5
✓ Grade 1 – Addition within 10, 20, Subtraction
✓ Grade 2 – Two-digit Addition and subtraction, multiplication tables.
✓ Grade 3 – Multiplication, division. Two-digit add and subtract within 100, mentally.
✓ Grade 4 – Three-digit addition and subtraction, multiplication tables till 20, division problems
✓ Grade 5 – Advanced arithmetic, Primes and factors and Multiples, Fractions – equivalence, comparison and representation.
Developed by Makkajai: Math Games for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade, Monster Math has been installed in more than 100,000 devices worldwide. It’s currently sitting at 4.0-star ratings on the Play Store.
Threes is an addicting puzzle game that tests an individual’s mathematical strategic ability. Users have to make 3s and multiples by swiping blocks of numbers placed on the board. Numbers are added when pushed against the boundary of the board.
Players have to make numbers under certain rules and conditions. As the game progresses, the steps become limited due to movement constraints. The success depends upon the player’s fore-vision in the game. Threes is a fairly popular game with close to a million people playing it at the moment.
How to use these games for better results?
Mental math games can serve as a meaningful practice tool if you have intervened in them correctly. Since gamification poses the challenge of keeping children informed that the basic motive is learning only, a few strategic approaches are advisable:
- Guide students in advance why the game is relevant to their math skill-building, and what outcomes to expect
- Always try to give a demonstration first, especially when the game is a bit complex to play
- Give a mental nudge like asking questions ‘why did they choose so and so option’ to find how they are strategizing to reach the solution with mental calculations
- Try not to jump on the games directly. Build an atmosphere for learning by giving a brief introduction to topics or doing activities with manipulatives to show strategies applicable.
- Encourage them to improve their scores to help them bring fluency in calculations
The biggest responsibility is to ensure that kids understand that games are meant to ease learning. Hence, follow the above intervention strategies for better outcomes.
Efficacy of games in improving mental math
Often teachers complain about children not paying ample attention in class. A major cause of such attitude is monotonicity in the instructions. Games help in breaking this monotony and deliver benefits such as:
- Better retention of concepts learned
- Help appreciate the practical utility of the concept
- Remove barriers caused by learning difficulties
- Children feel self-driven to learn and practice more out of curiosity
- Better participation in learning
In this day and age of mobile-based calculators, mental math abilities are diminishing not just among children, but young adults as well. This in turn has resulted in the loss of analytical skills and even memory abilities. The point, however, to be always remembered is that the fastest computer in the world today is still the human brain!
And like any other machinery, it needs to be kept functioning to stop it from rusting! Thus, these games will help you in oiling those cogs and wheels in your children, so as to help them reach the best of their potential.
- Chizary, Forouzan & Farhangi, Abdolhassan. (2017). Efficiency of Educational Games on Mathematics Learning of Students at Second Grade of Primary School. Journal of History Culture and Art Research. 6. 232. 10.7596/taksad.v6i1.738.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,