Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Favorite Math Games & Interactives: Online & Off

A friend of mine has a couple kids in kindergarten right now.  He asked if I had any recommendations for "online computer games for arithmetic, patterns, creative math exploration."  Why, yes, I think I do!  Following is an annotated list of some of my favorite interactive online habitats for a wide range of ages, including parents.
However, I think I'll start with a list of activities that are not computer based.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little biased toward hands-on, not-virtual learning, especially for the primary grades; children's bodies really need to be involved in the  learning process, especially math.

Also, although my kid has some computer skills, she is basically raising herself as a luddite, which is fine with me for now.  She's never been drawn to the computer, even when I specifically show her something I think is fun or cool.  So, many of the games and interactives listed  in the online category, below, are places that I go to get activity ideas to adapt for her off-line lessons or to grow my own math understanding or just for inspiration.


I don't know where we'd be this year without the endless Shut the Box tournaments of last year.  I attribute at least half her mental addition skills to rolling two dice (which can make up to 12) and finding different ways to make the rolled number.

I attribute the other half of my daughter's mental addition ability to UNO.  It's a classic game that we played speed style all last year.  And, at the end, the winner got to add up all the points she won from her mother opponent who always remembered to chant the UNO Point Tallying Mantra: "Find your tens!"

Peggy Kaye's book Games for Math  has LOTS of easy and inexpensive ideas including Nine Men's Morris which is sort of like a more complex and moveable tic tac toe (strategy, logic).

Variations on "sort and count the change jar" along with "save and spend" from about the age of five means that now, at age seven, the child is a whiz at money math (also known as adding and subtracting 10s, 100s and 1000s).

And, of course, The Game That is Worth 1000 Worksheets from the Let's Play Math Blog -- for the littles all the way through high school.  This fall we used a version that was a combination of sums and differences.

Some of these are for you, lots for them, and some for the whole family (like Scale of the Universe 2 and the triangle interactive!!)

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives: Truly a class act and a challenge for all ages. 

Math Pickle: This link takes you to a large library of interesting videos and ideas organized by grade level.

Kaleidograph:  I first found this toy and played with it online, and then I bought the real thing for Christmas. Both the online and hands-on versions are great but, no surprise, I find more meaning in the actual toy.

From my childhood memory bank, a classic Sesame Street clip with a lovely song: Two Little Girls and Their Little Doll House.  My adult eyes immediately saw one-to-one correspondence but my little girl heart remembered something different.

Scale of the Universe 2
: I have no words for this interactive graphic other than just GO.  You can turn off the music if you want.

I've included this link to Planet Seed/Math Puzzles for Kids because I don't want to forget about it.  It was on a long list of bookmarks already.  Puzzle topics include combinatorics, algebraic thinking, topology, probability, etc. 

Games from Freudenthal Institute look great, and they even have a star interactive!

Make your own isometric dot graph paper here.  These and the other dot graph paper you can print out are fun to leave around the house so kids can make designs whenever the mood strikes.

Math cats!  Need I say more?

I personally love Symmetry Artist from Math is Fun and my daughter actually liked playing with it for a while. It's a great way to really experience the differences between line and rotation symmetries and you can print out the designs you make at the end.

And, you really cannot miss this triangle interactive from the Triangulation blog.  Truly.  Run, don't walk.

To close it out, here is a lovely and thought provoking classic Sesame Street animation with music by Phillip Glass called The Geometry of Circles.


  1. Malke - I've been following your blog for a long time and really love your creative ideas. I created a skip-counting math card game called Speed! Speed! makes skip-counting lots of fun, and having a good handle on skip-counting makes multiplication easy. Anyway, since your blog is all about math and I know how you enjoy out-of the box strategies for learning math I think you would enjoy Speed! I would love to send you a box to play with.

    Please email me off-line so I can ship it off to you. Here are the links to Speed!


  2. I was totally augmented when I made my fist step into this brilliant website. This is a great game learning place I think. In this post the content about the math game made me very curious and consequently I was compelled to step into the details and happy to get me at the end of the brilliant presentation.Simply I love this gaming arrangement you dropped in this post. I also like graph game like this one 그래프사이트


Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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