Zap Zap Math – Games for Kids by Visual Math Interactive is a very comprehensive math app that rockets math education straight out of this world! Intended as an app that teaches kids from Kindergarten to sixth grade, it reaches far across the pre-school and primary school universe and beyond. This app will benefit teachers on the go who must see kids who function at different levels of understanding, as well as families with multiple kids. From learning the basics of counting to ten, playing with fractions, or plotting coordinates on a graph, this app has a little bit for everyone. Counting and Place Values as well as tapping into Sequencing and higher level Problem Solving skills are incorporated in play. The days of flashcards are diminishing, and as shown, again and again, by incorporating play into the mix, kids assimilate the material faster. Why? Because it moves the acquisition of facts, from random rote memorization into a practical life skills, and THAT makes it relevant and meaningful. Now that practical life skill may be saving an alien from destruction, but it’s still a mission to be accomplished where one feels useful and productive.
On opening, kids choose an Avatar and name them from a scrolling list of two random names. Choose carefully, because once you do, it’s permanent. So if Awesome Zea is the name of your guy or gal, you can then begin to have the fun guiding him/her through all sorts of space stops. Game set-up includes 9 “galaxies” or entry points for math adventurists. Within each galaxy are planetary stepping-stones to explore, ranging from one game to as many as 10. Each level within a planet consists of 5 progressive mini challenges. Completing a mini challenge will get you a star. Once that grouping is accomplished, kids can continue on that planet’s mission, to achieve “mastery” or continue to the next planet’s challenges. The thing that I love about games like Zap Zap Math – Game for Kids is that they can serve a child in so many ways. They can be a quick “Zap-in” for review and warm-ups to a teaching session or to play post teaching as a means for data collection. Many therapists like to up a physical demand by placing a cognitive overlay into the session. For some kids that may be just remaining in a seated position or crawling through a tunnel or “worm hole” to solve a problem. Math adventures in space are always fun, and the environment is easy to adapt to complete the experience.
Graphics are simple and non-cluttered, and auditory input is pertinent to the game. Objectives are clearly explained, and games are varied to promote the ability to recognize and solve math problems across different environments. Learning objectives are clearly marked, and the galaxies are linked to common core standards. Reinforcement is presented quickly, so kids can move forward and continue playing. Hits in the early learning galaxy were the gears and hexcavation games. In gears, kids set the greater than, equal or lesser than signs to help the aliens attain their treasures. In hexcavation, kids must move across a honeycomb in a logical and connected manner to write an equation. Little touches like this in hexcavation are also setting the seeds for future visual motor skills and executive functioning skills. Swiping, composing written work on the fly or even texting in a fluid manner are being introduced as well learning to wait. Learning to wait in hexcavation means you need to have a plan of action and not act out impulsively. And to that, I say Wowie! Things I would love to see are the ability to have multiple accounts and personalized avatars for each kid. The ability to keep and retain data or progress reports would also put this app into the stratosphere. I am also hoping for more games in each galaxy in future updates or as IAPs.
Zap Zap Math – Games for Kids will be an asset for any teacher or parent. It is truly a labor of love with its comprehensive content. Please check out the developer’s website here for more information. They have made the task of committing basic facts to memory fun. Highly Recommended.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of Sepa, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.