When it comes to kids and technology, I'm all about apps that focus on education. Those apps also have to be entertaining. Screen time is limited in our house, so I want to make sure Haiden and Piper are actually enjoying themselves when they have access to the tablets and gaming devices.
If you're just starting to look for educational and entertaining apps, be prepared to be overwhelmed. It seems like every app that's aimed for preschool and elementary school age kids claims to be educational. But you need to be careful, because so many of them just aren't.
One app that truly is educational and entertaining is ZapZapMath.
Zap Zap Math Review
Zapzapmath was co-founded by a former Singapore match teacher, and they have a goal to bring a new, gamified way to match excellence to kids all over the world.
According to Zapzapmath, many educational methods have remained largely unchanged for generations, and some of them have even been been proven to be ineffective for many young students. In particular, math is seen as one of the most challenging subjects, but Zapzapmath aims to change the way kids think about math.
Zapzapmath's mission is to help kids solve math problems through math skill games in the most engaging and fun digital learning ecosystem in the world.
Their vision is to provide a math tutoring app for kids in an affordable and fun learning ecosystem that promotes critical thinking.
Engaging, fun, affordable, learning, critical thinking. I like all of those words, especially when we're talking about education!
Zapzapmath Review: What I like
All the devices: I love that Zapzapmath can be played not only on mobile devices, but also on computers. I was easily able to get it started on my Macbook and Android tablet, and it's also available for Windows, Chromebooks and iOS devices.
Adaptive learning: I also really love Zapzapmath's adaptive learning, which means the skill level will change based on the mastery level of the player. In short, if your child isn't getting enough answers right, the questions will become easier.
Adaptive learning appeals to me because I'm a big believer in encouragement and positive reinforcement. Especially in math!
Math is definitely learned in stages, and being successful in learning the early stages means future success is more likely. I'd rather have my child take a step back and have a positive experience, rather than feel discouraged by playing at a level that's too advanced for her knowledge.
All the activities: This is unreasonable, but I'll just say it: I want all electronic games to never end. If I like a game, I want to continue to have new things to do and new challenges to complete for as long as I use it.
I know that what I want is impossible, but the Zapzapmath offers over 150 educational math games across 180 topics for grades k-6. That's a lot of ground for one app to cover!
Parent and Teacher Reports: Zapzapmath provides detailed math skill reports on a player's progress by day and by week. The dashboard lets you monitor your child's progress and find areas where improvement may be needed.
Zapzapmath: What I don't like
The login system: I like that parents have to register, then register their kids. What I don't like is that parents have to sign in for kids to play. The kids get their own user ID and password, but the program prompts them with exactly what they need to enter in each field.
Displaying the password on the screen for the child to type defeats the purpose of the password, and having two users sign in for one to play seems redundant.
Limited Free Offerings: Zapzapmath boasts that they offer over 20 free games from Grade K to grade 6. It sounds like a lot, but that's not even 3 games per grade, and most kids won't play too far outside their grade level.
We tried out the free version of the app as well as the paid upgrade. Before we upgraded, there were also so many things on the screen to “unlock” and “upgrade”.
As a parent, it's frustrating to have my child try a game out but also be inundated with asks for payment to get the full experience. I prefer that the trial version have a clean interface that's limited to what can be done in that trial.
Zapzapmath Review: Pricing
The full version of Zapzapmath is $9.99 per year, per grade. Overall, it's a great price for a school year's worth of entertainment intended to enhance education. I do wish the subscription didn't limit the grade level, though. It would be nice for kids to be able to work ahead to the next level if they're looking for a new challenge.
Further, paying by the grade discourages parents from subscribing mid-school year. I know I'd hesitate to sign up my son for the 4th grade level since he'll be needing access to 5th grade well before the year is up.
Zapzapmath Review: Our Experience
We've had a fun time trying out Zapzapmath at home. I love that it can be used on computers as well as tablets, making it easy to access the app. It's also a quirky and fun space theme, which I found entertaining as I watched Piper play!
I think it would be fantastic to not be limited by grade levels. I think if a child is interested in a topic and wants to move on, she should be able to, regardless of grade. As you also subscribe to the app by the year, there's the potential for paying twice as much to keep the educational fun moving forward.
All in all, if you download and like the free trial, $9.99 is worth the price to give your kids an engaging new way to learn math!