There are times when I want my kids to work on their school work independently because I need to take care of some other business. When they’re in the first few grades of elementary school, that can be pretty hard for them to do. Other times, I notice that my kids need to practice their basic math facts so that they can move on to more complicated problems.

I compiled a list of cool math games and activities that reinforce important math facts that I’ve used over the years. I find that having a few different methods at my disposal increases my kids’ interest and willingness to practice. In this post, I’ll tell you about XGerms by k12.

### XGerms

In this game, the kids answer addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or a combination of each of these the types of questions. For every question they get right, they capture a germ in the germ lab. The goal is to capture a bunch of little germs. Once those germs are captured, kids answer a few questions so they can capture the big germ.

**Getting Started**

Your child will be able to set up their avatar. As you can see from the graphic below, there are many options for the avatar’s appearance. They also get to choose their name. This makes it possible for multiple children to play xgerms and keep track of their progress on the same computer- though not at the simultaneously.

**Select a Germ**

The next step is to select a germ to capture. This only needs to be done the first time the math game is played. After that, they won’t need to do this step.

**Capturing smaller germs**

First, the kids must solve problems to capture the smaller germs that surround, and protect, the big germ. Their goal is to solve the questions correctly so they don’t waste goop. Their second goal is to solve math problems as quickly as possible. There is a timer above the math question. You’ll notice that there is a bar with red, yellow, and green (left to right). First the green will disappear, then the yellow, then the red. Once the red runs out, you’re out of time.

**Capturing the Big Germ**

This task isn’t as easy as capturing the smaller germs. 5 math problems solved correctly must be answered. You’ll know how you’re progressing by looking at the hearts. Red hearts mean the germ has full strength. No red hearts means that germ is tired and ready to be captured.

**The XGrid**

One way for parents to keep track of progress is to look at the x-grid. The more green dots on the chart, the more proficient the student is with their math facts. Yellow mean that they know the fact, but they could answer more quickly. Red means that the student either ran out of time, answered incorrectly, or took a long time to answer the question.

As long as their avatar information isn’t deleted from the computer, the student can work on xgerms until they have filled out the entire xgrid, no matter how many days it takes. If your child uses different computers to access xgerms, their progress will not transfer from one computer to another.

**How to Delete XGerms from your computer or device**

Technically, XGerms isn’t on your computer. But, if you want all everything associated with XGerms removed from your computer you could erase your cookies as well as click *remove player* on this page.

**How to access Xgerms**

XGerms is available for any device equipped with Flash. This means that computers and mobile devices (not iphone) can run this program.

Many people access these games through the K12 curriculum. However, people who do not have K12 can access it for free on their XGerms Multiplication.

**Why I recommend Xgerms**

Kids need to memorize their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. This is a fun way, especially for budding scientists, to practice. It beats doing timed worksheets and flash cards, though we still do those, because kids can do them independently while parents make lunch, take care of other kids, etc. My kids look forward to playing this math game, which k12 recommends practicing between 10-20 minutes per day. Some of my friends’ kids would play it much longer and every day of the week if given the opportunity.

I still recommend using other methods to practice so that more connections and pathways are created in the brain’s neuro-circuitry and so that they aren’t glued to the computer or mobile device too long. When math facts are memorized, higher level math levels won’t be difficult later on. Practice! Practice! Practice!

If you are looking for online and offline games that help kids practice and/or learn math skills, there are many online resources for parents. I think we’re blessed to live in a time when we have so much information at our finger tips. If you have more ideas, please share! I’m anxious to hear about them. Then, please share this site with your friends.

### Updated Links:

1) Race Car Fast Facts

2) Baseball Fast Facts

3) xGerms Addition

4) xGerms Multiplication

5) xGerms Subtraction

6) xGerms Division

7) xGerms Math Mashup