Multiplication for Kids is a simple drill and practice app. On the home screen you will see your only two choices: Times Tables and Test Your Skills. The times tables for 0-4 and the first two levels in Test Your Skills are free. For an in-app purchase price of $1.99 you can unlock the times tables for 5-20 and Test Your Skills levels 3-10.
Let’s say the child selects the 2 times table. A screen will show all of multiplication problems from 2 x 0 through 2 x 12, along with the answers. Each problem is automatically highlighted one at a time while a voice reads the problem to the child. That is all there is to the Times Tables section of this app.
I teach third grade, which is when students are first required to learn about multiplication, and I can tell you that there is little value to simple recitation of times tables, especially when the child is just listening to someone else do the reciting. It is much more valuable for the child to understand what each multiplication problem actually means conceptually.
In a future update, I would love to see the times tables set up so that an individual problem appears on the screen – say, 2 x 4 – and the child would need to draw a picture – 2 groups with 4 in each – or write a repeated addition problem, such as 4 + 4, to come up with their own answer. This way, the child could receive targeted practice on the times tables that he or she needs in a meaningful way. They need to be more involved than what the Times Tables section offers.
I had my third grade students use Multiplication for Kids, and here’s what a couple of them had to say about the Times Table section:
“I don’t like the times table part because I can’t tap the right answer myself” ~Natalie
“I think it should let you answer the questions on times tables.” ~Graham
Moving on to the Test Your Skills section of the app, things get a little better. Each of the 10 levels has ten multiplication problems with three multiple-choice answers and the problems get progressively more difficult. In each level, the questions are mixed, so you are answering questions from different times tables. When the child answers a question correctly, a bunny character appears from the bottom of the screen and claps. (My students named him Happy Rabbit.) If you choose the wrong answer, a Jack-in-the-box character springs up. The problem is the Jack-in-the-box is smiling as well, so it's not great visual reinforcement. The correct answer is then displayed.
Each question in Test Your Skills is untimed, which is a good thing because the child can take their time and focus on getting the right answer. The child can miss up to three problems and still advance to the next level. I think that is setting the bar too low. I’d rather the child be able to miss only one, MAYBE two questions.
The first few levels of Test Your Skills are solid because they are the simpler facts that students should be able to learn and internalize. So, to ask the child to just select the correct answer is reasonable.
As the problems get harder, it becomes an issue that the child is expected to calculate more advanced problems out in their head. For example, answering 19 x 8, 20 x 12, and 19 x 12 without a paper and pencil is an impossible task for most third graders. I would like to see an on-screen scratch pad as an option in this section. In the meantime, I would highly recommend that the child have scratch paper with them so that they can answer these more difficult problems instead of blindly guessing.
I feel that there is a bit of a disconnect as to the targeted user of this app. The purpose of the app needs to be either beginning multiplication, which focuses on facts from 0 – 12, or it needs to be a higher level multiplication app focusing on double digit problems up to 20.
There is also no easy-to-use home icon in this app. If you want to get back to the home screen, you have to push a tiny “x” in the lower right corner of any given screen, and then a pop-up box asks you if you want to go back and you have to push “Yes” or “No.” I’d really appreciate a home screen icon or at least a back arrow.
If you would like to download Multiplication for Kids (Free for the iPad & iPhone with a $1.99 in-app purchase) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using this link button:
This review was completed by Allison Kelly, who has been a teacher for 14 years. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.