Learning through play has been proven to develop skills and is a teaching method used across the world, but we always associate it with young children, just starting their schooling. That is not the case, it is effective for all age ranges. Through my teaching career I have come across a number of games that allow children to practise and develop their skills. Some are more effective than others and results vary for each individual. I have compiled the top 5 games I use in my teaching for you to explore with your children. Perfect to boost learning at home or to use alongside home education.
5. Top Marks
Top marks is a great resource, it covers all the main strands of maths and has a variety of games to support areas of learning. It even covers subjects other than maths! It also links to handy resources such as base ten blocks, to support more formal learning. Each area of maths is broken down into wide age ranges and games often overlap. This page isn’t as good as you get to Key Stage 3 and beyond, but is fantastic for Primary School children, or those in Key Stage 3 who need some confidence boosting.
Maths Games is a one stop shop for all things maths, it includes games, worksheets and standards that need to be met in line with the National Curriculum. It will even adapt to where you are to accommodate the differences in UK curriculums. I’m a fan of the KS3 gamification. It is work based but low stakes. I have had some great teaching results on this platform. There is a subscription option but it is not needed to use the platform effectively.
3. Table Tastic
I was recently sent a pack of … to use with my students. Although these were gifted I am not benefiting in any way from sharing this resource with you. It is a simple card and dice game that you can simplify or complicate, depending on the skill level of your children. It is designed to support children in learning their times tables. My students have enjoyed the game, but I feel it works best with more than 2 players. Answer cards and multiple ways to play allows children of all abilities to feel successful and the repetition of multiplications mean that they are developing their times table skills. The card design means that KS3 students unsure of their tables would be happy to play, as it doesn’t look like it is designed for little ones.
This is very popular with my Key Stage 2 students. They love that they have their own login and trophy cabinet. They are encouraged to learn each times table by approaching tasks multiple times. They can also use this website to practice their skills against the clock or to play various games. The trophy cabinet highlights their successes and many students play this without being in lessons. The more formal area of this website would appeal to Key Stage 3, but the games are definitely designed to appeal to Primary School children.
Prodigy is by far my favourite maths game. It is what would happen if maths and Pokemon merged. Your child develops their own character and adventures around a fictional world, defeating monsters and gaining pet creatures through successfully answering maths questions. They can play alone or with friends, there are no chat options so players are unable to communicate, making it safe to access multiplayer mode. Prodigy also has the ability to set areas for learning, so you can target in game questions to the skills your child is learning. I use this to informally assess the skill level of new students and decide which areas to target. I regularly gain positive feedback with many children asking to play the game or even playing outside of lessons! Prodigy is free to set up, but there are in-app purchases, none of which are needed to play properly or develop skills.
So there you have my top 5 maths games, I have tried to make sure that they are free where possible, Time Table Rockstars is very popular but does incur costs and I have found only appeals to more confident children.
Maths doesn’t have to be a static, dull and dreary subject, there is plenty of creativity out there when you scratch the surface.