Educational games make learning math fun

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- If you want to guide your child to the best education possible, it turns out some fun and games are part of the equation.

Whether it is adding plus and minus 10 to win a hand at cards or adding four and two to finish off a pirate's hook on a coloring page, when your kids have fun learning they can do exponentially better.

Cameron Krantzman is a former teacher who developed Coloring Squared. "It is a series of coloring pages that combine math instruction in a great visual style pixel art," he said. "The goal of the product is to basically prioritize the engagement, focus on it being something kids really enjoy doing."

Every square has a math problem and the answer corresponds to a specific color.

"And so when they are finished coloring each square, they have this cool pixel puzzle when they are done," Krantzman explained.

The math includes addition, subtraction, multiplication and more. "We also do fractions, decimals and percentages, and place value, so there is a number sense book, as well," Krantzman said.

Not only can you buy Coloring Squared online, there are free exercises to try, too.

Krantzman says it is a great tool for parents because after they help their kids learn a skill, they can step away while kids practice. "That is actually essential because kids need to go from taking the tools and then mastering it," he said.

Kids at Paideia Academy in Phoenix, dove right in.

"I like practicing my math a lot," one student said, and he is not alone. "I think it is cool how we are going to use school skills to make colorful pictures at the same time," a classmate agreed.

Math also was on the mind of Dayo Akinbinu as he looked for a way to make family game nights more fun. He started with a card game.

"But then as we started playing, I saw the importance and the value of the educational part of it," he said.

Working with his own kids, he developed the Combination Card Game. Basically, you go through a series of rounds, each defined by a combination card plus or minus one through 10. You drop cards by using the four basic math operations to equal that number.

"So I have this negative five, but I also have a positive two, and that gets me to negative 3. So now I reached my objective of getting a positive or negative 3," Akinbinu daughter, Monique, explains.

To actually win the round, you must use your final cards to reach zero.

Akinbinu says it can be quite challenging, even for grownups. "Sometimes, you think, 'Am I smarter than a fifth grader?' you know? Something like that," he joked.

Monique says it makes you think.

"There are multiple ways you can get to one solution," she said. "There is not just one way to solve a problem, so it expands your mind, thinking, 'I can get to this number this way or use more of my cards to get to this number this way.'"

To make it even more difficult, there are strategy cards to slow down your opponents.

Akinbinu sells his cards online, but he would like to get them into schools as a way to teach critical thinking.

"That would develop them to become engineers, doctors, and whatever they do in the future," he said.

For more information about Coloring Squared, check out ColoringSquared.com. To learn more about Combination Card Game, got to CombinationCardGame.com.