Apps to Help Children with Math

I’ve recently been trying to download some helpful Math apps for my 7 year old. She’s in 2nd grade now and there’s now a lot of emphasis being put on them knowing their addition and subtraction math facts—and knowing them fast. If you’re like me, drilling those flash cards every night can get tedious. It’s not enjoyable for the kid or the parent. I mean, this is why we buy our children iPods and iPads at an insanely young age, right? Look at all the help there is out there. And it’s a lot more fun!

Here is a rundown on what I consider to be the best Math apps out there for kids. Keep in mind that I was looking specifically for my 2nd grader so some of these may or may not be appropriate for children younger or older than that.

Math Bingo ($1)
This is really probably my favorite one. Bingo is just fun any way you cut it, but an added bonus is that once you win a game of Bingo you’re taken to another part of the app where you can choose from 3 other games: Bingo Bug Bungee, Math Stack, and Math Fling. Aside from Bingo Bug Bungee, even these are educational and help strengthen math skills. In my opinion, it’s well worth the one dollar cost.

 

Flash to Pass (free or $.99 without ads)
Personally, the ads don’t bother me on this app so I went with the free one. While this app is really simple with the only task being able to give the answer on flash cards, what drew me to it is the fact that it’s timed. In my daughter’s class they are given 1 minute to answer a certain amount of problems, so it’s a perfect way for her to practice at home.

 

Mathmateer ($.99)
I have to admit that I haven’t had the chance to have my daughter test this one out, but I will go ahead and tell you that I’ve had loads of fun with this app already! There’s SO much to do in this app, which I guess could be a good or a bad thing. I can’t decide if this would most likely keep my daughter’s attention or frustrate her. However, I do think it will depend on the kid. I can totally see my son enjoying this when he gets a little older. Not only do you get the basic math facts, but once you answer a certain number of facts and earn “money” to be able to build your rocket, you’re then taken on a mission where other math topics are covered such as odd and even numbers, money, shapes, telling time and fractions.

 

Math Puppy (free or $3.99 for full version)
I’ll go ahead and tell you that to get the full effect of this app, you need to order the full version. The free version only includes subtraction.
This app will draw the attention from your kid from the get-go. The colors are bright and you get to choose a cute little puppy as your avatar. What more could you ask for? While you get to choose from Bingo, Math Challenge and Math Calculator, my daughter, for the most part, just uses the Math Challenge (the calculator is just that –a calculator).

 

Tic Tac Math ($2)
Who doesn’t love a good game of Tic Tac Toe? While it’s simple (it’s your basic tic-tac-toe game paired with the skill of math flash cards), sometimes having an app without all the bells and whistles is the way to go. There’s also a scratch pad for working out answers, if needed.

 

Have any others that you’ve found? Let us know!

Smooth Projects in the New Year

Happy New Year from all of us at Stone Soup! We’re excited to be starting a new decade of developing awesome projects and helping businesses increase revenue. Our team continues to grow and we continue to make great industry partners. Thanks for making 2013 a great year for us!

When I was deciding what to write about for the New Year, I started thinking about the biggest issues that our clients have faced when launching a project. Here are my top 4 problems that our clients face:

Problem: Indecisiveness & perfection

You know your business. You make the tough calls. You are fearless. But for some reason when you are doing a software project, you start second guessing yourself. You come in with this great concept of how you want something. But along the way, you get weary and lose faith in you original vision. You make changes, more changes, and more changes. This causes infinite delays and what we call in the industry, “scope creep”. This can get very expensive – both from missed opportunities due to delays and extra money for development.

Solution: Stick with your original vision. Make a few modifications if needed (and we’ll throw some suggestions in, as well), but overall, keep your original concept intact until you get to a Minimally Viable Product (MVP). This allows you to launch a product on time and on budget. Then you can start working on version 2.

Problem: “I know what my customers want”

The fact is you probably know your customers better than anyone else with one major exception – the customers themselves. We’ve witnessed both here at Stone Soup and many other places the curse of having too much confidence that we know our customers’ wants and needs. We dream up what we think is a perfect solution to their obvious problem. We launch and sometimes find out that we don’t know them as well as we thought.

Solution: Follow my previous advice – launch quickly with an MVP. And the next step? Immediately start getting user feedback. Yes, you have expert knowledge about your business. You know your products inside and out. You know your strengths and weaknesses. But as much you think you know your customer and your customer’s preferences, you only get a clear picture when you ask them, watch them, analyze them, etc. You can save a lot of time and expense, as well as deliver a more successful product if you ask early and ask often what your customers like.

Problem: “They will come”… but they don’t

We hear lots of ideas for great projects every day. We meet plenty of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who have a set for budget for a project. All of it is set aside for development. This is especially true with our app clients. The idea is so profound and so needed that they have the feeling that “if they build it, they will come”.  The app is released and guess what? They don’t come.

Solution: The truth is that behind almost every great software success (especially apps), there has been very intentional marketing plans in place. I was mentoring a startup recently who was trying to create a solution for a very competitive and lucrative space. The competition was all making tens of millions in revenue. This startup had budgeted about $25,000 for marketing. For that particular case to be in the same league as their competitors, the marketing budget should have been $5,000,000 or more. The takeaway from this is to be very intentional about your marketing plan from the very early planning stages. A large budget isn’t always necessary, but an intentional plan is.

Problem: Writer’s block

Solution: Writer’s block always hits the hardest when you’re launching a website. It hits everyone. Relax. Break the content into manageable sections. If you have need 10 pages of content, tackle 2 pages per day. Set aside 1 hour (or two 30-minute blocks of time) to only focus on writing the content. Don’t check email. Don’t answer the phone. It’s not as bad as you think. This article by Chris Lake gives some good tips on how to write for your website. [I failed at many of these just in this one blog post!] And if you aren’t a good writer – which many of us aren’t – then either choose someone else in your organization to be the content creator or let Stone Soup connect you with a freelance writer who can interview you and write it for you.

What’s the Fuss About Google Wallet?

Get ready! Virtual wallets are hitting the market. The question is: Will we use them?

Google Wallet and competitors like Visa Digital Wallet want you to make the jump from your trusty if bulky leather wallet to a virtual version of the same.

This is what Google’s saying about its new product (edited for verbosity):

  • Put your credit card info into your phone and make purchases by tapping and paying, using near field communication (NFC). During this process, coupons and loyalty points are uploaded to your virtual wallet from participating vendors.
  • Your credit card credentials are encrypted and stored on a computer chip called the Secure Element, which is separate from the mobile phone memory. For additional security, you set up a PIN, which is entered before each purchase.
  • Someday, boarding passes, IDs and even keys could be stored on the Wallet.

I like the idea of a virtual wallet, but would I use it? Currently, Google Wallet only works with Citi® Mastercard® and the Google Prepaid card, and is compatible only with the Nexus S 4G. It will be expanding to include more cards and phones, but it’s hard to say when that’ll happen.

Maybe it launched a bit early … but maybe it has to start somewhere.

It’s a nice use of MoLo (Mobile Local), which is using your mobile device to find and pay for local services and products.

When you combine smartphones, geo-targeting technology, and NFC, you just get giddy with the possibilities. You can float through your day with nothing more than your phone. That I like.

The downside is, not all smartphones are NFC-enabled and Google’s projection is that only half of smartphones in the U.S. will be NFC-enabled by 2014. Those aren’t great numbers.

Google Wallet is being field-tested in New York and San Francisco as of late May/early June 2011. The national release is set for sometime this summer.

Google is also announcing Google Offers, which sounds like an e-version of coupons. I like coupons but I don’t like carrying them around and spreading wads of them out in front of the cashier. If I can have all of my coupons on my phone and use them just by tapping, I’ll be happy.

Google Wallet sounds like another way technology is making life simpler. But it’s not yet universal. When it is, if it ever is, I’ll use it.

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