If “algebra” is a scary word in your house, then maybe it’s time to try a different approach. DragonBox Algebra 5+ is the first in a series of mobile games that makes algebra comprehensible and even fun for little minds — and some big ones, too. The game walks you through the fundamental tenets, instructing players to solve for x by isolating a box on one side of the screen.

As you advance, the levels grow more complicated, and you may find you have to add things to both sides of the screen to cancel out certain tiles or combine tiles to make your equation work. All the while, you’re getting a sneaky education on how to recognize variables and figure out why operations must be done in a certain order. Whether you want to get a jump on teaching algebra to your children or a tool to illustrate the basics to a student of any age, DragonBox is worth exploring.

$4.99, for iOS devices; 99 cents, for Android devices.

Hayley Tsukayama