While driving home from work the other day, I was listening to a call-in show on NPR. A woman called to find out the best way for her family to save money for their child’s college fund. It made me think about how expensive our little bundles of joy can be. The good news – kids don’t always separate you from your money – sometimes they actually help you keep some! Here are a few ways your kids will help fatten your wallet come tax time.
Have you ever had to yell at your child to put down a controller? Are you worried that this gaming obsession has a negative effect on how your child does in the classroom? Have no fear; Zing has some answers for you in its educational video game series. Today, we’ll talk about math games. You never know – maybe one of these games will finally spark your child’s interest in math lessons!
Elementary Level Games (12 and Under)
Math Blaster (Mac, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, tablet/smartphone app)
Math Blaster is a series of games in which children must complete math-related tasks to advance to the next mission. While the original Math Blaster games are only intended to teach your child the most basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), newer versions teach more complicated lessons, with math skills as advanced as algebra and geometry.
Madagascar Math Ops (tablet/smartphone app)
Intended for children between first and fifth grade, Madagascar Math Ops is based on the cartoon movie series “Madagascar,” where talking animals escape from a zoo and head for freedom. During the game, your child plays as one of the main characters, alongside the penguins, to solve math problems. The more math problems your child solves, the more animals they free from the zoo, which they can then play with.
Junior High Level Games (12–16)
Angry Birds (Mac, PC, Xbox 360, tablet/smartphone app)
The original Angry Birds app was released in late 2009, and can be used to explain angles, a basic element in any geometry class. Since then, Angry Birds has taken off in popularity with multiple spinoffs, like Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Go! (which is similar to Mario Kart). While Angry Birds Star Wars is basically just Angry Birds with “Star Wars”-themed characters, Angry Birds Go! has a math twist in that players must choose how to spend coins wisely, or risk losing their next race. Check out some other Angry Birds spinoffs here.
DragonBox (tablet/smartphone app)
DragonBox claims to be “an inexpensive algebra tutor that fits in your pocket.” There are two versions of this app. Help your child master skills from early mathematics on with DragonBox Algebra 5+, and take their skills to the next level with DragonBox Algebra 12+, which covers more complicated algebra concepts. In this game, your child must arrange icons in a certain order to unlock the DragonBox. As your child continues to play, the icons are slowly replaced with numbers and variables, showing your child that they’ve actually been solving math problems all along.
High School Level Games (16 and up)
Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Nintendo DS, DS Lite, 3DS) (H3)
Super Mario 3D World is one of the few games on the list that’s appropriate and entertaining for all ages. This game encourages the use of basic math and financial management skills. As you progress through the levels, you’ll earn star coins. If you want to win, you’ll need to spend them wisely to earn power-ups and bonus levels. But be careful; spend too many star coins at the wrong time and it could be game over.
Minecraft (Mac, PC, Xbox 360, tablet/smartphone app) (H3)
Minecraft is a virtual sandbox where your child can create and destroy new constructions using blocks. Minecraft encourages your child to interact and learn from their surroundings. Right now, teachers are using Minecraft in special needs classrooms to help teach basic principles of geometry.
If you’d like more information about video games that can benefit your children, be sure to check out the Open Education Database.
Have a favorite game that we forgot to mention? Looking for other educational video games? Let us know in the comments section, and maybe we’ll cover it next.