Practice makes perfect, and budding mathematicians can build their subtraction skills and addition ability with a range of apps.
If the idea of mixing math with summer fun horrifies your kid, she may reconsider after playing a math-centered (and entertaining) app. Competitive kids can test themselves against others in multiplayer contests, and outdoor types might find they enjoy mixing math and gardening. Get your reluctant mathematician excited about numbers again with these top ten subtraction and addition apps.
- Math Bumpies HD - Adventure on Math Island: Addition and Subtraction ($1.99, ages 4+) Your little learner will love picking the perfect character to race around Math Island with. Acing addition and solving subtraction sums as she goes, your child will pass by the jewel cave, avoid shark-infested waters, explore shipwreck beach and immerse herself in a land of adventure. As she bumps, jumps and rolls her adorable character through a series of math problems, your kid won't even notice she's sharpening her skills—the game is simply that much fun.
- Kid Numbers and Math (free - $2.99, all ages) Raising a multilingual learner? This popular app—boasting kid-friendly numbers in English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Russian—contains a variety of addition and subtraction challenges your child will enjoy, ranging from basic skills to slightly more complex problems. While appropriate for all budding mathematicians, this app is best for beginners who are just learning the basics.
- Addition & Subtraction for Kids (free, ages 4+) Calling all animal lovers! If your kid's crazy about furry friends, she'll love this app, which teaches the basic concepts of addition and subtraction with pictures. Featuring bright colors and simple graphics that won't over-stimulate, Addition & Subtraction for Kids allows your little one to choose from three possible numbers that might answer the pictorial math problem on screen: What's one snake plus six sheep? Seven!
- Mad Math 4 Kids (free, all ages) Forget advanced applications—this math game is exclusively focused on subtraction and addition. With multiple math challenges to complete, the object of the game is to solve as many of the calculations as you can before the time runs out. A simple interface, easy instructions and sharpening mental math skills make this a perfect game for any tiny puzzle-lover.
- Rocket Math (free - $0.99, ages 4+) Help your elementary schooler prep for a trip to space with this complex app. First, she'll need to solve math problems to earn enough money to build a rocket. Encourage her to tackle the tough questions; she'll earn more money for a correct answer. Once she has enough, she'll design and build a rocket for one of 56 different math missions. While some missions are themed around addition and subtraction, they also cover topics such as U.S. money, square roots and fractions. Great for children who like a challenge, players must complete calculations as quickly as possible before the rocket lands, to earn bronze, silver and gold medals depending on their level of success.
- DigitZ ($0.99, ages 4+) If your kid's a video game whiz, look no further: DigitZ is Tetris with a numerical twist. In the game, your child's given a target number, and must stack the numbered blocks in columns that add up to the correct number. Just like regular Tetris, the higher the column gets, the harder the task becomes. Start slow, and as your kid masters the movements, up the intensity! Great for honing mental math and manual dexterity skills.
- Playful Minds: Math (free - $6.99, ages 5-8) On your mark, get set, math! Kickstart a little friendly competition between your kid and her friends with this multiplayer game. Questions are individually tailored to each child's ability level so every player has a chance to win. In the app's island lessons, players are rewarded for playing, unlocking special items and earning gold to buy character accessories. The game offers complete curriculum coverage of kindergarten through second grade in both the U.S. and U.K., and you can even get report cards to follow your child's progress.
- Manic Math (free, all ages) A simple but engaging concept, this app challenges children to choose the correct combination of numbers and math operations to achieve the target number. Start your little one on addition and subtraction tasks. Once she's aced those, have her move on to more complicated division and multiplication problems.
- Grow Your Garden ($0.99 - $1.99, ages 4+) Looking for your little sprout to develop a green thumb, and math skills to boot? She won't even realize she's learning with this interactive game, designed to teach math concepts with increasingly intensive addition activities, themed around gardening. Older preschoolers, kindergarteners and kids in the early grades will enjoy working out how many times the watering can must be filled to keep their adorable flowers and other plants flourishing.
- Mathboard Addition (free, ages 4+) As your little one's math abilities grow, this app grows too. Adjust the difficulty level and the range of numbers you work with—you can go as high as 9999—as your kid's confidence with numbers increases. You can set quizzes with up to 250 questions, and intelligent wrong answer generation makes it harder for her to guess.
No matter which subtraction or addition apps you choose, the key to continued learning is the amount your child enjoys engaging with the information. Choose an application that matches her personal learning style—sharp, high-definition graphics are sure to please a photographic memory, for example—and let her test out the trial versions to decide which one to purchase.