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Get Children Into Maths

Video games contain a lot of maths. Children are often working with complex mathematical concepts without realising it. The temptation is to leverage this maths-play to make learning-games for the classroom. However, as we do that we often unintentionally break what made the experience playful in the first place.

We recently discovered Aha Machine, that takes a different approach. It provides a series of playful spreadsheets that use dinosaurs, video games and football to inspire and motivate learning. They are brilliant, interactive, free and can be downloaded for use in a school in minutes. What's more they use amazing games as their motivational and reward content in each exercise.

Along with highlighting this brilliant resource, we have worked with creator of Aha Machine, Henry Hartley, to create this list of games that offer experience that get children doing maths without realising it.

This includes games where maths is front and centre, like Twelve a Dozen or Dicey Dungeons. But it also includes game that develop math-like investigative thinking, such as Pawnbarian or Imbroglio. Then there are strategy games that are all about the numbers, like Football Chairman Pro and Universal Paperclips.

This list includes 20 games from the last 16 years, with 67 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to get inspired for maths.


 

Threes

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Web and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Sirvo Studios (@SirvoStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

Threes is a puzzle game where you slide numbered tiles on a grid. When they collide they combine their numbers, like Triple Town. You can match 1's and 2's with each other, the white tiles can match cards that are multiples of 3...

Lost in Random

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Zoink Games (@ZoinkGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Lost in Random is an adventure where you play an anthropomorphic dice and a young girl called Even. In her world, when she turns 12 she must roll a magical die to be assigned a region to live in and a life to live. But seeing her sister go through this...

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-11 year-olds

Release Date: 05/06/2006, updated in 2021

Platforms: DS, Switch and Wii

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 2 players online

Big Brain Academy is a puzzle game designed to test and improve your mental capacity and well being. You are presented with an assortment of challenges designed to measure how smart your brain is. The focus is on fun rather than learning, and the Big...

Dicey Dungeons

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 13/08/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Terry Cavanagh (@TerryCavanagh)

Players: This is a single player game

Dicey Dungeons is video game adventure where you build a deck of cards to represent characters, attacks and weapons. Here the novelty is that these cards combine with dice rolls to determine who wins battles.

Marching Order

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-7 year-olds

Release Date: 28/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: SFB Tom (@SFBTom)

Players: This is a single player game

Marching Order puts you in charge of a disorderly animal marching band. Listen to each animal’s requests to get them in the right order in the game about sequence, rules and order.

Twelve a Dozen

Release Date: 05/10/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Bossa Studios (@BossaStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

Twelve a Dozen (originally called just, Twelve) is a running and jumping game where you solve mathematical based logic problems to help Dot save her family. While many games use learning as a gate to the reward of some fun, Twelve integrates the maths...

Universal Paperclips

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Flantz (@Flantz)

Players: This is a single player game

Universal Paperclips is an adventure game about making paperclips. It sounds simple, but behind the incremental process of clicking a button to create these paperclips is a story about how the desire to make paperclips (or anything) if fully realised...

868-Hack

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Smestorp (@Smestorp)

Players: This is a single player game

868-HACK is a puzzle game where you hack a computer program to collect as much data as you can. It's a unique puzzle as collecting data triggers more enemies to appear so you walk a delicate balance between collecting as much as possible, but not so...

Card of Darkness

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: 16/09/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Helvetica (@Helvetica)

Players: This is a single player game

Card of Darkness is a hand-animated adventure game where you attack enemies represented on cards. This isn't unusual. What is, however, are the small set of intricate rules and charm of each character.

Good Soduku

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/07/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Helvetica (@Helvetica)

Players: This is a single player game

Good Soduku is the classic puzzle game but made more accessible by removing the leg work of counting and tracking which numbers have been used where.

Cinco Paus

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/12/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Smestorp (@Smestorp)

Players: This is a single player game

Cinco Paus is a puzzle game where you try and get through 5 rooms picking up treasure as you go. What makes it unusual are the magic wands that help you do this. What appears to be a maze game turns out to be a challenge to discover the effects of each...

Dragon Box

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-10 year-olds

Release Date: 09/05/2012

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Dragon Box (@DragonBox)

Players: This is a single player game

DragonBox is an educational series of games that teaches young children maths, such as algebra using pattern matching with symbols. Unlike other educational games, the fun is in the doing in DragonBox, rather than incentivising learning with separate...

Football Chairman Pro

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/06/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: F Chairman (@F_Chairman)

Players: This is a single player game

Football Chairman Pro is a simulation strategy game about running a football (soccer) club. The game has over two million downloads for its accurate and complex simulation of running a football club. This combines with a simple and clear interface to...

Imbroglio

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/05/2016, updated in 2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Fighting and Puzzle

Developer: Smestorp (@Smestorp)

Players: This is a single player game

Imbroglio is a puzzle game where you take a character into a dungeon and progress by collecting stars. The twist is that combat is focused not only your abilities but the tile you and standing one when you attack. Although each character has different...

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 16/11/2016, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Avokiddo Games (@AvokiddoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a puzzle game where you roll your character around castles to collect keys, food and gems for the dragon that lives there. Complete a level to be awarded with customising pieces to decorate your ball as a king or queen....

Murder by Numbers

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: Mediatonic (@Mediatonic)

Players: This is a single player game

Murder by Numbers is a detective game where you find clues by solving math-square nonogram-style logic puzzles. A little like Phoenix Wright games where you have a murder to solve, but here you have to use...

Twofold Inc

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/01/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: Grapefrukt (@Grapefrukt)

Players: This is a single player game

Twofold Inc is a puzzle game where you deliver requests for coloured tiles. You fulfil these orders by connecting the required coloured squares on the small grid. When you don't have the required coloured tiles to match next to each other you can also...

Trios

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-10 year-olds

Release Date: 30/09/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Samurai Punk (@SamuraiPunk)

Players: This is a single player game

Trios is a puzzle game where you select numbers and operators to get the required total. It's unusual because of its relaxed visuals and music. The twist is that you have to use all your numbers to reach the target.

Pawnbarian

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 24/09/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Fighting, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: j 4 nw (@_j4nw)

Players: This is a single player game

Pawnbarian is a puzzle game where you attack enemies in a dungeon based on chess moves. You build a deck of different pieces and then use them in battles.

Seven Scrolls

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/03/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Jesse Venbrux (@JesseVenbrux)

Players: This is a single player game

Seven Scrolls is a puzzle game where you explore a dungeon, kill enemies and get to the exit. What's unusual is that the rule of the game change as you pick up scrolls.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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