Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Math Room

Math Room

Spring 2013 Games
Ages: 5 & Up
Manufacturer: SimplyFun
Price: $26.00

Math Room is the new favorite game in our house. My 5-year-old is just starting to learn addition, and my 8-year-old is in need of practice to gain fluency with simple addition and subtraction up to 10. This game fit the bill, and is even fun for Mommy and Daddy to play along.

I'm particularly impressed that the game builds excitement in a way that doesn't pit one player's math skills against another, or against a timer. This can be frustrating for learners, causing them to get angry at repetitive practice often introduced in time trials or flash cards. In this game, players must frequently practice simple equations. It's sort of like "Bingo", in that each player must cover each number on the board, from 1 to 10, using an equation on the dice. If they can't, they get to ring the hotel-front-desk-style metal bell (the best part of the game, in my sons' opinions) to flip their card and try a different equation. Because there is a random element to the game (they may not roll the color they need to make the equation that covers the board), losers of the game aren't marked as poor at math, but rather as unlucky. This is a key point: Players who feel badly about themselves when they lose, won't play a game again. Players who felt unlucky are almost always sure they will win the next time around.

It isn't just our kids, who enjoyed Math Room. We took the game to math night at school, and it was a huge hit. It isn't just a good 'math game', but is instead a generally fun game to play with the kids.

Barbara Chamberlin   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Barbara Chamberlin researches and develops educational software and media at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab. She and her husband have two boys.

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