Review – Kids First Math: Number Balance

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Publisher KOSMOS

Category STEM Toy

Player Count 1+

Kids First Math: Number Balance is a preschool toy that teaches basic mathematics. By hanging weights on the two sides of the scale, players can learn arithmetic hands-on! Let’s check it out.

Review

The KOSMOS Kids First line offers all kinds of cool STEM kits for little ones. I recently covered Amusement Park Engineer, and was excited to try another one with my children. Kids First Math: Number Balance is exactly what it sounds like—a balance scale that acts as an interactive math equation.

Right out of the box, the item was larger than I expected. It stands about nine inches tall, and its arms stretch more than two feet from end to end. Each arm has ten pegs from which to hang weights, and ten weights are included in the kit.

The front and back of the scale have two different designs to choose from: one side has simple numbers and dots at each peg, and the other side shows numbers on the right arm and matching quantities of fruit on the left arm.

Obviously, the goal is to place weights such that the scale balances out. A deck of cards is included, each of which shows a simple math problem. Parents can use these to aid instruction, or make up their own questions. As they play, kids will learn about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.


My 4-year-old has really enjoyed playing with this toy, and it has gotten her excited to learn about math. (I never thought I would hear the phrase, “Daddy, can we do one more math problem, pleeeeease?”)

Even if arithmetic feels confusing and abstract to a child, odds are they have some intuitive understanding of balance. Watching an equation literally balance out before their eyes makes the underlying concepts seem more approachable, and it allows kids to not just see, but *feel* what is happening.

It’s easy to teach deeper concepts with this toy, as well. For example, when the scale was balanced, I added a weight to one side to demonstrate the principle that “if you change one side of an equation, you have to change the other side, too.”

In terms of production, the scale is bright and colorful. The cards are cheerily detailed and fun for a kid to look at. I am slightly concerned about the structural integrity of the balance, however. As long as players are gentle with it, this toy should last a long time, but the plastic connection at the fulcrum feels like it might snap if a kid was playing too roughly or tried twisting the scale.

That concern aside, though, Kids First Math: Number Balance is a great STEM toy for little ones. It removes a layer of abstraction from arithmetic, allowing kids to play with math concepts hands-on. If you have a preschooler in the house and you want to introduce them to basic math concepts, this toy is a fun way to do so.

A review copy was provided by KOSMOS.

The Bottom Line

Kids First Math: Number Balance is an excellent tool for teaching arithmetic to little kids. Highly recommended for folks working to shape young minds.

 

8.5

Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.