January 19, 2009
We found an awesome game called Timez Attack that does wonders for practicing the 2 through 12 multiplication facts. Here’s a review of the pros, cons, and our own family’s experiences. (my kids loved the free version of Timez Attack enough to fork over their own money for the upgrade.)
There aren’t many things more boring than doing times table flash cards over and over. The designers of Timez Attack wanted to make math practice more fun, so they designed a real video game with a great environment, graphics, and monsters you defeat by knowing your multiplication facts.
And as their service to kids everywhere, the full functioning base version of the game can be downloaded for free. If you want to upgrade to the full version, you get extra graphics and worlds to practice your facts.
Free Version Pros and Cons:
- Pro: It’s FREE!
- Pro: The math is complete = ALL the math facts from 2 to 12.
- Pro: Shows the concept of multiplication lots of different ways: a matching number of creatures appear when the fact is presented, a matching number of dice-like dots appear on the door, and the multiplicands appear on the belly of the monster.
- Pro: There is ‘exciting’ time pressure to get the answer right. The monster will ‘bonk’ you if you take too long.
- Pro: Children learn where the number keys are on the keyboard, and how to use them quickly.
- Con: You only have access to the dungeon level, so each time you complete a set of math facts, you start over in the same dungeon with the same monsters behind the same doors. It can get a bit boring.
Paid Version Pros and Cons:
- Pro: All the great benefits of the free version.
- Pro: Two additional levels with MANY more graphics and interactions for the kiddoes while they are practicing.
- Pro: The game play is more ‘video-game’ like, ie. lava to dodge and rivers of fire to cross on the dragon level, moving platforms and crawling spiders to catch on the robot level, etc.
- Cons: It’s not free – the full version costs $39.99 – (However, this is similar to costs for a Wii, Playstation, or XBox Game)
Our family’s experiences:
- Kids loved it: My 9-, 7-, and 5-year-olds all loved the free version and got the rest of their school done so they could play “that cool math game.”
- Played with friends: My 7-year-old daughter had two friends over to play and dragged them over to play Timez Attack. The three girls played for half an hour, cheering each other on and racing to yell out the answers in time. The same girls asked could they please play Timez Attack the next time they came over.
- Spent their own money: After a month of the free version my children began begging asking politely for the paid version. I refused, for a while (after all, the math is the same), but then made them a deal. Any child who put $5 of their own money towards the upgrade could play it, and I would pay the rest. All three of the older kids gave me $5 from their own savings.
- Times tables before addition: My 5-year-old completed the 12th level and is probably one of the few in the world who knows his multiplications facts to 12 . . . but not his addition.
- Just the facts: The only downside is the lack of real world application or word problem type practice, but I figure that comes in the regular math curriculum. This game is to make the repetitive practice of the times table fun and addictive until you know them backwards and forwards. Timez Attack does that better than any game or flashcard system we’ve tried yet.
Having my kids ask to practice math . . . it’s as gratifying as having your kids ask for seconds of broccoli
For other multiplication ideas, see these posts:
- MathRider Review – Go on a quest and learn all the math facts along the way from addition to division.
- Memorize in Minutes Review – Fun picture based memory system to master the times tables.