Children don’t usually learn fractions in math until Grades 3 or 4. But Slice Fractions (Android, iOS), from Montreal’s Ululab, imparts the concepts to much younger kids.
Players have to help a cute woolly mammoth get from one side of the screen to the other by dividing up blocks of lava to melt blocks of ice that are in his way. The amount of ice and the amount of lava must be the same, which requires that they “slice” up the lava into appropriate quantities. Kids might not be able to tell you that they’ve learned the difference between a quarter and an eighth, but my six-year-old daughter has an implicit understanding of this after playing the game.
She’s also enjoyed learning more sophisticated math by playing S.M.A.R.T. Adventures Mission: Math (Android, iPad). This game, from Kata Enterprises, is explicitly targeted at girls.
Each player becomes a Junior Agent Star who finds herself on a sabotaged space station and has to help repair damage and determine the identity of the saboteur. After personalizing their character, players do basic math, as well as work with fractions and decimals, factors and multiples, and even graph interpretation. It’s all set in an engaging adventure story in which girls are the stars.