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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 29 games from the last 16 years, with 131 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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Web and iOS

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...

Imbroglio

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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

Platforms: iOS

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 are standing on when you attack. Although each character has different...

868-Hack

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

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...

Dicey Dungeons

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

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

Pieces: Cards and Dice

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.

Lost in Random

Release Date: 10/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Pieces: Cards and Dice

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...

Lego Duplo World (Series)

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Release Date: 01/08/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Lego Duplo World (and Lego Duplo Marvel) are very simple point-and-click puzzle games. Based on the popular children's toy, it's an interactive play experience based on HeadStart’s Early Learning Outcomes Framework that encourages children to develop...

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Series)

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Platforms: DS, Switch and Wii

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...

Twelve a Dozen

Release Date: 05/10/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

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...

Marching Order

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

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.

Universal Paperclips

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

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...

Football Chairman Pro

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Android and iOS

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...

Good Soduku

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/07/2020

Platforms: iOS

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.

Otteretto

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/01/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and Web

Otteretto is a puzzle game where you match blocks to make palindromes. Rather than the usual match-three format, instead you have to find patterns that mirror in the middle, like a palindrome but with colours/shapes rather than letters.

The Last Cube

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/03/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

The Last Cube is a puzzle platform game where you guide a cube through a series of 3D mazes to save the world from destruction. Because you have to get the right side of the cube on the right square to trigger abilities and progress, it creates a...

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens (Series)

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Android and iOS

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....

Card of Darkness

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/09/2019

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Pieces: Cards

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.

Cinco Paus

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

Platforms: iOS

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/05/2012

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

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...

Murder by Numbers

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

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...

Pawnbarian

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 24/09/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

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

Freshly Frosted

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/06/2022

Platforms: PC

Freshly Frosted is a donut topping puzzle. You must place topping machines and conveyor belts in the right order to create the right donuts. It takes the common conveyor puzzle challenge and adds not only a lovely theme but some intricate scenarios for...

Teach Your Monster: Number Skills (Series)

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/11/2021

Platforms: Android and PC

Teach Your Monster: Number Skills is part of the Teach Your monster series, aimed at Pre-school and Reception age children. You play as a customisable monster character in a theme park. Each ride has a numbers game that starts with basic number...

Tens!

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/08/2017, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, Switch and iOS

Tens! is a colourful puzzle game where you lay blocks of dice into a square aiming to make a row or column of ten points in total. As you complete a ten, you score points and the tiles used are cleared away. The simplicity and vibrancy of this game...

Twofold Inc

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/01/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

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...

Slice Fractions (Series)

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/02/2014, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Slice Fractions and Slice Fractions 2 are maths-based puzzle games where you slice objects to create specific fractions that clear the path, defeat ghosts and enemies. It's a simple challenge that blends learning about one of the most essential parts of...

Trios

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/09/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

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.

Hyperbolica

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/03/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, Oculus and PC

Hyperbolica is a traversal game where the whole world bends the laws of physics. As you move around, everything seems to shift and fold in on itself as you discover space doesn't work like it does in the real world. It's a game created in non-Euclidean...

Seven Scrolls

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/03/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

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

The Devil's Calculator

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/01/2019

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

The Devil's Calculator is a mathematical puzzle full of logic brain teasers. An evil calculator has its normal arithmetic operators replaced with sadistically obscure functions. You must figure out (with logic and a bit of algebra) how to use these...

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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