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This question is related to https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/476471/teaching-a-4-year-old-maths

My 3 years old seems interested in math (remembering numbers, counting stuff and more). I want to encourage this. However, it seems that it would be best if the kid can have some fun game with his small children's tab (not an Apple one). I wanted to know if there are any video games/apps that can get kids interested in math (and also science)? Though I am looking for some free ones, but I would also like to know if there are some paid stuff out there.

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migrated from math.stackexchange.com Oct 11 '15 at 10:43

This question came from our site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields.

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    $\begingroup$ My 6 year old brother learned better from people than a game ever since he was 3. Maybe try teaching your child with pencil and paper. $\endgroup$ – Yunus Syed Oct 8 '15 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Bernard, for poems and other linguistic learning, I have got it fairly covered. Btw, the books you mentioned are not universally read nor even known. You do know that the asians, africans, middle-easterners etc. do have their own rich children literature, right? Math and Science are obviously universal and objective. So I asked about it in this forum. $\endgroup$ – dbm Oct 8 '15 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @YunusSyed, of course that's what I do too. But it is not completely possible these days to refrain kids to be away from smart-gadgets. In that case, if there is a way to use the gadget time for learning+fun with some sort of games, that could be better than many other silly stuff. $\endgroup$ – dbm Oct 8 '15 at 2:46
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    $\begingroup$ Fact monster is good for flashcards $\endgroup$ – Yunus Syed Oct 8 '15 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ Would someone be using the app with the child or would s/he be on his/her own? Would you want to encourage exploration or learning skills? What skills does your child have already? Can your child read numbers? $\endgroup$ – Amy B Feb 23 '16 at 19:39
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Not formally an answer (so if you have one, do not let this prevent you to post it), but I think challenging the implicit assumption that it would be good to have your kid use any such software deserves more than a comment.

First, I remember that several studies failed to prove any improvement on teaching math using computer technologies. This lets me suspect that tablets and educative apps might be less of a great teaching tool than they are told to be by those selling them, but is not completely to the point, as the comparison in those studies was with other form of teaching, not with nothing at all.

More importantly, quite some researchers strongly advise against exposing young children to screens, even for educational purposes (my reference is unfortunately in French: http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2013/02/08/laisser-les-enfants-devant-les-ecrans-est-prejudiciable_1829208_3232.html, written by Michel Desmurget (neuroscientist at Inserm), Laurent Bègue (Professor in social psychology), Bruno Harlé (pedopsychiatrist)).

To prevent or severely limit the use of a tab before a few more years might be the best thing you can do to ensure your child's mind is able to thrive latter on.

Clarification added in edit: my reason to write this is that I think that this information is relevant to the question even if it does not answer it, and that it should be brought to the attention of anyone interested in the question in the first place. Feel free to flag (and to delete) if you think this is against the best practice on this site to use answer in that way.

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  • $\begingroup$ It is too simple to say that one should keep their kids away from screens than to do these days unless you choose to live in complete dark age without any screens at your home, or just be completely brutal on your kids to refrain them to touch devices with screens. I don't do either. The studies you mentioned are, as you mentioned, inconclusive and compares different things than the case here. In any case, I am not interested in your preaches or opinions. My question is simple: are them apps to teach Math to kids at around 3-4-5? Please respond if you have an answer to this question. $\endgroup$ – dbm Oct 12 '15 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ I do not preach or speak about my opinion (note the use of 'might' here and there), I mention the conclusion of the people having studied the question most closely. Feel free to ignore them if they don't suit you, I just want to mention this important information to other people reading your question. Regarding my dark-ageness and brutality, I happen to know quite a lot of people that drive a car and don't let their 3 years old children do the same, and I have never heard any of them be called these names. $\endgroup$ – Benoît Kloeckner Oct 12 '15 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ @dbm: Since the question was migrated from MSE to MESE, it is now subject to slightly different conventions. In particular, although you may find BK's response does not provide apps for your purpose, I believe that it is still on-topic for the site. For more in this direction, and as a place to continue such a discussion, please consult the meta.MESE post: "Why not" as an answer for "How to" (Promoting best practices). $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Oct 12 '15 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminDickman, I see why 'Why not' may be a good answer sometimes specially in math educators stackexchange. If I had asked something like 'how can I replace traditional math education by modern apps?', then 'why not' would be an appropriate answer. But answering something which is not even asked in the question can't qualify as an answer in any stack exchange sites. This is a classic case of dragging any innocent question to a completely different direction. This shouldn't be encouraged in the name of 'Why not answers'. In the end, I am sure I won't get an answer to my que from all this. $\endgroup$ – dbm Oct 13 '15 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ @dbm: I clarified a few points and made it clearer that my non-answer should not prevent answer to be given. I will not answer further to your comments. $\endgroup$ – Benoît Kloeckner Oct 13 '15 at 20:55
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(Migrated from the comments.)

Here are three specific suggestions:

  1. Teachley (company page)

  2. Tiggly (company page)

  3. Bedtime Math (wikipage)

I mentioned the first two in an earlier answer to MESE 750; I became aware of these two companies because the founders (all three at #1; one at #2) worked with my graduate advisor (Herb Ginsburg, whose expertise is on age 3 to grade 3 mathematical thinking, the work of Piaget and the clinical interview technique, and teaching mathematics with software) which means, in particular, these are examples of mathematics teaching apps based on actual research from educators and teachers.

I would suggest the first two, to start with.

I cannot speak directly to #3, but I have heard it spoken of in positive terms.

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Fingu is an iPad game developed by a group of researchers in Kristianstad and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Quote:

The game aims to improve 4-8 year old children’s basic arithmetic competencies but can even be played and enjoyed by younger and older children as well as adults. The competencies that are trained are:

  • The ability to ‘see’ numbers of objects without counting them, so called ‘subitizing’
  • The ability to ‘feel’ a representation of the numbers up to 10 in your hands
  • Coordinating seeing the number of objects with showing it with your fingers
  • The ability to add two numbers with sums up to 10
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The Monster Math Squad is an English tv-show. Episod's are roughly 13 minutes long and during a 'quest' children aged 2 to 5 can learn about diffrent subjects such as weight (diffrence between heavy and light), size ( small, medium, large), sorting etc.

Most episodes are also available on youtube or other channels.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe the question was about video games and other games not videos. $\endgroup$ – Amy B May 24 '16 at 14:20
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Suggest Monkey Math School Sunshine available in the Google Play. Although it is recommended for ages 5 and up, I believe your child would be ready for it. I think your child would enjoy it and could grow with it, According to the review on Common Sense Media:

Parents need to know that Monkey Math School Sunshine is an early math education game where kids do a series of math problems, covering topics such as shapes, number recognition, counting, patterns, addition, subtraction, comparisons, writing numbers, and recognizing sets. When kids have trouble, the game guides them with gentle hints. The questions are of varying difficulty. Some of the questions are presented in a straightforward manner, while others are more like games. After kids answer enough questions, they can choose a prize for their aquarium. The aquarium starts out empty, and kids get to fill it with fish, plants, and decorations. Kids can revisit their aquarium at any time. The aquarium can be reset to allow another child to have a go. Seeing their aquarium filled with the prizes they chose helps to encourage kids to solve more problems.

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When I was a kid, (around 4 years old), I was playing super nintendo games, because my dad was playing these too. You easily find out that mario has 3 lives, and that once it gets to zero, it's game over. You find coins, and once you have 100 coins, you win one more life.

You aren't searching for maths, it comes to you directly. Then some games (like zelda), needs you to learn slightly more complex maths, because you find rupees (coins, basically), and you can use those to buy things. Do I have enough money to buy the stuffs I want ? It also requires you to know what are the characters saying, as it's all text, you need to call your dad for him to read for you, but it encourages you to start learning how to read by yourself, and instead of just going to school and learn how to read there, you are the one asking poeple to teach you how to do so.

It was fun, because the game wasn't about learning how to read, or learning how to count to win, you had to rescue the princess, and learning how to read was just one of the requirements on how to do so.

The side effect was to turn me into a geek, but entering school, I knew how to count and read.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good answer. For readability, you might want to write "I" with a capital letter, rather than as "i", where appropriate. $\endgroup$ – Tommi Brander Feb 19 at 7:01
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Some of the math games on abcya.com or hoodamath could be good for this age level, especially if you find that logic puzzles fill your bill. As an example, this one could be imagined to teach about planar graphs ... or just to be fun/maddening.

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Ekapeli-matikka (available http://www.lukimat.fi/matematiikka/materiaalit/Tietokoneohjelmat/ekapeli-matikka ) is intended for children who are not yet in school and who have problems learning mathematics. It teaches one-to-one correspondence, comparisons, order, number symbols and addition, at least, as per the quoted description below:

Ekapeli-Matikka on tietokonepeli, joka harjoittaa yksi-yhteen vastaavuutta, vertailua, järjestämistä, lukusanan, -määrän ja numerosymbolin vastaavuutta sekä lukujono- ja yhteenlaskutaitoja. Ekapeli-Matikka on tarkoitettu niille esi- ja alkuopetusikäisille lapsille, joille matematiikan oppiminen on haasteellista.

I have not used it, but I have used the sister program which teaches reading and letters. It seemed to be okay. There are some other mathematics games available: http://www.lukimat.fi/matematiikka/materiaalit/Tietokoneohjelmat . According to the description, they are intended for children up to fourth grade, so around the age of ten.

The games are free and produced by Niilo Mäki instituutti and University of Jyväskylä.

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