Mystery Math Town is a wonderful new math app that will engage both children and adults.
I am really impressed with this app, as players here guide a friendly ghost who has agreed to help release fireflies that have been caught in jars hidden among rooms and outdoor spaces of wonderfully stylized houses – per the plead of their firefly mom as seen in an introduction to this creative math application.
To do so, one will need to gather numbers that are to be used in math problems that one will come across in order to enter or leave any of the rooms of outside spaces connected to the house, be it by simply crossing over a threshold of a door, climbing up or down stairs or a ladder or even levitating outside the house as well as other unique ways of coming and going.
The amount of time and care that went into the developing of this app is quite obvious as these houses, eight in all, are stunning in their details and decorations, creating a Victorian feel with damask wallpaper, vintage artifacts and other interior design details lush with colors and elements that will make users want to keep exploring and solving math problems. Do tap around the page as sometimes the objects found include mild sound effects or other interactions that add even more richness to this app. Also note the portraits found within these houses that will sound when touched a well.
I also greatly appreciate how these math problems are presented as the answers are given and users will need to come up with the numbers to get to this sum, working in reverse – wonderfully unique as well as another level of thought process for children as well as adults.
I definitely found myself strategizing while playing this game, especially on the harder levels as the houses one must search are quite cavernous with multiple rooms and levels that one is best not getting lost in as one looks for numbers to collect and fireflies to free. This game makes me flex my sense of direction as well as my math skills.
Because one can hold only a set number or numbers, players will find themselves leaving numbers where they found them, deciding what numbers may be more helpful instead of redundant, back-tracking their steps to find the leftover digits that they now realize are needed to unlock areas of these homes.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are all possible functions covered as well as including numbers represented as dice and tallies, which are possible options as this app nicely allows adults to personalize the experience and difficulty level from older grade school up to adult.
I found that reverse engineering these math problems, even on the easiest level, was a thoughtful challenge – great for not only learning basic, beginner math but also for exercising knowledge of math foundations as these fundamentals will help students do the work of more advanced math with greater ease.
The amount of content is vast, and I enjoy the fact that even when the fireflies have all been released, one can go back to collect gold coins via the same gameplay to collect the portraits found in these homes to one’s personal gallery where these paintings can again be tapped to hear witty comments.
Not enough can be said in terms of the quality of the look of this app as well as the usefulness in terms of working on math problems. I found myself deeply engrossed in these houses, enthralled with the styling of each room I came across.
I cannot recommend this app more to both parents as well as teachers, especially with the inclusion of multiple players being able to keep their games separate – a necessity as few can finish this lengthy app in one sitting.
I have had a few issues with this Mystery Math Town crashing, but luckily this app saves the progress of the player mid-game, allowing me to pick up where I left off seamlessly. I would, however, love to see this issue smoothed out if possible.
I have few other notes for this game, but I would love to be able to watch the plea from the mother firefly at will instead of only as an introduction at the beginning of this app, as I found this scene quite impressive in terms of style and even emotion.
Artgig Studio, the developer of this app, has a nice collection of other educational titles as well that I can also recommend, some of which have also been reviewed here at GiggleApps. They are worth looking into, and I am very much looking forward to new apps by this developer in the future. The love that has been put into Mystery Math Town is obvious and is absolutely worth the purchase.
Bugs and Numbers is a delightful universal application – a collection of bug-themed mini-games that re-enforces beginner math concepts as well as other subjects such as understanding one’s left and right, shape matching, sorting, sequencing and tracing of numbers and shapes.
Each one of these 18 mini-games includes a bright and engaging look, oftentimes including bug elements as well as an interesting dichotomy as some of these sections are quite beautiful to look at, while others include distressed qualities that show bugs in less than pristine conditions that children may also find interesting.
Start playing through these games randomly, or enter the menu to choose the game to explore with a tap.
I admire how each of these mini-games increases in difficulty from start to finish, yet many of these games do not include specific goals or end points, such as the matching shapes section where one matches magnets – first with numbers and shapes, leading into an advanced exercise of matching halves of magnets such as bugs or robots – which can be tricky. Presumably, one pairs as many matches as possible in a given amount of time, yet without parameters flushed out, it can be hard to understand why the game ends without warning.
It is also worth noting that these games do not include instructions while a few do give hints on game play, so parents may want to use this app with their children before young ones explore this app on their one, and it would be nice if different children could have their own accounts to keep track of their progress throughout these games, collecting bugs along the way as one masters these mini-games.
I also wish one could silence the cheering heard as one finishes these sections – a sound that to me is grating, to say the least. Preferably these cheers could be muted separately from the music and other sound effects as the included music heard in these sections is nicely done with a few areas that are quite beautiful – if not a little suspenseful and dark, like music one may hear in a carnival.
Even with the notes made, there is such a wide range of mini-games to choose from that this is an easy app to recommend. I have enjoyed some of these areas more than others, with my favorites being the science section with lab measurements as well as the “Garden Patters,” which is part maze and part pattern recognition.
Bugs and Numbers is an app in a series of bug-themed apps such as this which are equally content-rich and wonderful to look at and explore. I can recommend each of these apps. If interested, look for my review for the Bugs and Buttons app as well. Bugs and Bubbles will reviewed by GiggleApps in the future as well.
I recently checked out the educational apps section of iTunes and found The Math Tree, a universal app which is prominently displayed. I am always on the look out for intuitive math apps for the youngest app user, yet at first glance The Math Garden did not stand out as highly unique among other math apps that also teach beginner math concepts.
Looking closer, I saw that this app is developed by Bellamon, whose earlier apps, Shape-o’s – a tangram app and Counting Caterpillar – a counting app, are wonderful kids’ apps as well as highly stylized. I knew that The Math Tree would be a good bet.
I must say that although the images from iTunes show the basic game play of this app where one subtracts fruit from the math tree center screen or adds birds to the tree to teach addition, the small pictures do not do this app justice as the pleasing textures of felt and other materials can’t be seen to show how visually interesting this app is.
I do love the look of this app, bright and colorful, with a wonderful collage effect using cut paper and fabric that makes me smile.
Narration is included that explains what is being asked of players, also seen as a math problem in the sky above the leaves of the tree prominently displayed. Children are asked not only to take away or add objects, but also included is a mixture of fruit or birds – be it black birds or owls, adding to the details used as well as teaching about various fruits or birds and following specific directions.
Tap the fruit to remove, and one will notice that a shadow is created at the bottom of the screen where one places the fruit being subtracted or up in the tree where one is asked to place the bird as well as music sounds heard with each tap. When the problem is complete, four numbers are offered as the player finds the correct answer.
I especially like that one can also tap to count the fruit or birds left in the tree, truly counting to the correct number.
Relaxing music is included that parents will enjoy listening to as well as subtle ambient forest sounds such as birds in the distance. I also enjoy the bunnies that hold up presumably a blanket or basket to catch the falling fruit – cute details that really make this app delightful to look at and spend time with, as these animals move slightly, enough to add a subtle humor that I greatly appreciate.
Although this app may become monotonous to adults over long periods of time, I do not see this as a flaw for babies and toddlers who are new to early math concepts as this app is gentle and sweet with nothing added that could become a distraction.
The app is very nicely realized for being an early math app focusing on easy addition and subtraction as well as teaching about zero – a concept that is not always included in this level of first apps for children.
After four questions are answered, the section being worked on is complete and includes a trophy for children to momentarily enjoy, but it is unclear is the questions become harder as subsequent rounds of this game are played. It may be helpful to parents in the future if one could choose to focus on addition, subtraction or a mixture of questions to be included.
Even with this note, The Math Tree is an app of very high quality for a beginner math app. The sense of style is great, with relaxing art and music that can be enjoyed by all ages.
My son – now five – has math abilities past what is focused on in this app, so it is quite a compliment that my son found it engaging as he, a seasoned app user, may reject an app that he deems to be too young for him.
We have also greatly enjoyed other Bellamon apps and will be reviewing their phonics app, Word Grab Phonics, soon here at GiggleApps. If interested, do check out the other reviews of Bellamon apps here at GiggleApps as well.
Grandpa’s Workshop is a fun interactive app which teaches about the tools found in a workshop as well as learning about simple math concepts.
I really enjoy how this app works, as a fun older gentleman walks children through workshop-related activities such as identifying tools, painting different projects or mending broken objects jigsaw style.
Simple math-related activities are also included such as using a tape measure to measure boards, cutting boards into fractions such as halves or quarters, choosing the correct number of screws or other parts grandpa needs as well as a spot-the-difference section involving tools that may be similar or different.
Young children will enjoy the quick pace of these mini-games and the nice variety of questions which are included.
My favorite activities include cutting boards with the drag of a finger as this not only teaches fractions in an immersive way but brings some fun hands-on details children will expect from a workshop application.
I also really enjoy the short videos found throughout this app that give children a close-up view of tools at work, including power tools that one could not get this close to safely watch in real life – great moments children will really enjoy with excellent narration by Grandpa, who is very articulate in explaining the tools being used in each video as well as mentioning safety concerns such as wearing goggles when using a saw, which I greatly appreciate.
I would love to see more of these videos as well as giving children the chance to re-watch their favorite clips from the menu page where parents get to choose what types of activities their children will be working on.
Other cute moments are when Grandpa asks for a “High Five” bringing his hand close to the screen, allowing the user taps Grandpa’s hand. Grandpa also performs short dances as a reward, as well as slowly builds the player a club house, allowing children to pick out different elements such as door, windows or paint colors to keep children interested.
It surprises me how there are not more workshop apps available in iTunes because play tools and workbenches are utterly popular among preschoolers. I would always love to see more hands-on activities past the sawing of boards, but nevertheless children will enjoy Grandpa’s Workshop, learning about tools as well as early math.
Juicy Math is a simple yet colorful math app that will help children practice addition and subtractions.
This app is very intuitive with a crisp and clean style, as children add or subtract fruits seen on tiles. To answer, select the colorful tile found right with the corresponding answer one is looking for.
I enjoy the wood grain seen throughout the backgrounds of these tiles and the screen in general, adding a sophisticated look to this low-tech app. Although not as unique a math app as others out there, there is something to be said for having children work with straightforward math problems that they will encounter in school.
What I appreciate most within this app is the ability to tap the fruits one is counting, highlighting them as well as adding satisfying “click” sounds and mild movement as the number of fruits get tallied to the total number now seen in the tile as well.
It is also great that while subtracting, after the tapping of the second section of fruit one is subtracting becomes highlighted and tallied, the fruits from the first tile become de-highlighted with the number of fruits one is subtracting, creating a very effective visual for children to understand this early math concept.
I would also love to see an option during addition to have the tallies continue from one tile to the next in order to help children not only come up with the two numbers one is adding, but the totals of each of these questions as well, for children who are very new at counting to clearly explain how addition works.
Having said this, Juicy Math is a nice choice to aid children in visualizing addition and subtraction. I can see this app be useful at home, school, and in a home schooling setting.
For those interested, the related app, Juicy Math Multiplication and Division, is also available.
Marble Math Junior is a really enjoyable universal math app that will engage children.
The basic game play of Marble Math is quite simple as children drag or roll a marble to the corresponding answers to varied math and related questions through a maze, sometimes avoiding pitfalls or rolling over bonus objects as well. Topics include simple addition, equivalences using items such as numbers and dice and sequencing or shape recognition.
Children will enjoy the bright colors this app includes, such as the bright orange background of these mazes, fun upbeat musical elements and other sound effects, as well as the utterly satisfying rolling sound of these marbles, encouraging children to practice their math skills.
I am fond of how many options are available to personalize this experience such as the ability to drag the marble with a finger or pick up the device and tilt it like the classic labyrinth game.
Three levels of difficulty can also be chosen, and parents can also choose what types of questions to focus on, while children can create their own avatars by sliding to choose different hair/hat and eyes and mouth choices – a fun inclusion that allows different players to keep their games separate.
I also really appreciate how the instructions for each maze can be tapped to be hear, allowing children who are not yet reading to work with this application as well as giving children a chance to re-try problems they got wrong, a chance to be shown the correct answer with a tap, as well as the ability to skip questions if they feel the need.
Score is kept, not for correct answers exactly, as the score can also be impacted positively or negatively by the additional details found within these mazes or just momentarily complicate the rolling of the marble by such things as slipping on goo or sliding on a banana.
Each game is also relatively short – great for modest attention spans, although children will most likely play round after round, as the tactile nature of this app will be mildly reminiscent to some of an arcade game, without any over-stimulating aspects parents may want to avoid, yet with just enough pinball elements to make me smile.
Marble Math Jr may not actually teach children how to count or perform addition, but this is a very nice app to encourage children to practice the skills they have already acquired – be it pre-math skills like shape recognition or simple addition.
Do note that a related app, Marble Math, is also available with the same gameplay but includes a more advanced selection of questions including fractions, Roman numerals and the adding and subtracting of two digit numbers in the easy level, as well as tackling multiplication, division and more in the more difficult sections.
Marble Math also includes more sophisticated obstacles to keep older children and even adults interested as they work on their math skills.
Marble Math Junior and Marble Math are both apps that make practicing math skills quite enjoyable. For this reason, I recommend them both depending on the age and skill level of the player.
Motion Math: Hungry Guppy is an interesting math application for young children, teaching basic addition in a way that is fun and engaging.
As the name may suggest, this app focuses on a hungry guppy who would like to be fed the dots or numbers that float by which correlate to the number or dot seen on his chest.
Three sections are included using either a dot system for children who are new to learning their numbers, a section which mixes dots and numbers, as well as one solely using numbers to match.
I really enjoy this app. The look of this app is lovely, taking place at the bottom of the ocean, including stylized sea life such as beautiful, vibrant anemone as well as rays of sunlight penetrating through the water to the ocean floor for a very nice effect. Some fun animation is included such as what looks like tube sponges shooting out the number or dots encapsulated in circles, making the dots appear as the nuclei within fish eggs for hungry a guppy to eat – a nice effect as this is the way this guppy gets bigger after being fed the correct dots or numbers as is the way his mouth opens to devour these numbers or dots, momentarily seen in this fish’s belly.
To play, one may need to add dots, numbers, or both together with the drag of fingers to create the sum one is looking for, listening to relaxing yet upbeat music featuring the calypso drum along the way.
I also appreciate how the use of dots is a nice primer in subitizing, as children will quickly learn how to manage these dots without counting them directly, as well as allow children who do not know their numbers a chance to match these dot formations instead of the simple counting to be learned later within this app.
Children of all ages will especially like how they can work at their own pace making combinations – working slowly or quickly, making this app fun for a wide range of abilities. As an adult, I enjoy feeding the hungry guppy as quickly as I could as a simple yet fun brain teaser.
Please note that another related app, Motion Math: Hungry Fish consists of the same basic game play but is more challenging and advanced – a nice choice for older children up through adult and contains in-app purchases of modes focusing on different math functions such as subtraction or multiplication.
I am happy to say that this app, geared towards toddlers and preschool aged children, does not contain any links or in-app purchases, but it would be nice to teach basic subtraction this same way – be it a free update, separate application, or hidden in-app purchase that children are unlikely to come across on their own.
Little Digits is a charming app for iPad, a lovely counting and basic math app which is hands-on in a way children will find new and engaging.
This app consists of three main sections: counting, addition and subtraction.
When the counting mode is opened, players will be greeted by a friendly “0” with a lovely face consisting of a blue zebra pattern, eyes, fanged mouth, horns and the negative space of the “0” creating the nose.
Notice that if one touches the screen with a finger, the number changes to number one, and if two fingers make contact with the screen, number two appears on the screen and so forth up to number ten.
Each of these numbers has its own sense of quirky styling including a friendly creature with a face which creates charming anthropomorphic numbers complete with fun and jazzy upbeat music and bright background color choices. The movement of these quirky faces such as the eyes blinking really brings these numbers to life and adds to the overall richness of this experience.
I really enjoy how interactive this application is, and I think this method of teaching on fingers or “little digits ” as this app is aptly titled is a great way to teach counting to young children, as well as getting them to move their fingers in a sequential way that will also work their fine muscles.
When exploring this app for the first time, I thought of my favorite math teacher, who insisted that her students count on their fingers proudly out in the open, in response to having to hide the fact that she counted on her fingers when she was in school as a girl. To this day, I am a proud finger counter, really appreciating the concept of this interesting, intuitive application.
The addition and subtraction sections work much the same. At first, a number is given that children can count up to as they add numbers into the screen. Then they are asked to either add or take away more fingers, being able to count positive or negative until they reach the correct sum.
As much as I love this idea, I do think that some young children many have trouble with the dexterity needed to get their fingers to move the way they want, such as placing solely four fingers on the screen and then lifting two off the page. I do think this app may be a great exercise for some children as well, and two hands can be used to create the finger combinations as well. Adults may want to help their children into correct positions, or demonstrate these sections themselves if they see fit.
This is also a unique app to teach subitizing, as I have long stopped counting my hand of fingers as five as well as other finger groupings – lessons children may learn on their own, but also interesting lessons to teach with this unique application.
I also like that a short video is included of a child playing with the counting section of this app – a nice clip that shows children how this app is used, including the detail that this app is best used with the iPad, specifically being placed on the table instead of holding the device in an upright fashion.
Because this is such a unique, yet common sense approach to counting, this app may be of interest to special education teachers as well, either as an early math app or possibly as a nice finger exercise app as well.
What truly makes this app special is not just the thoughtful method of teaching but the wonderful sense of style, cute yet odd-looking creatures kids will love, simple fun animations, fun and engaging background music, as well as a great use of color that is found throughout.
Lola’s Math Train is a cute and fun universal application staring Lola, the cuddly panda that children may be familiar with from other educational Lola apps from BeiZ such as Lola’s Alphabet Train or Lola’s Fruit Shop Sudoku.
Here, join Lola and friends as she drives a train which is propelled by each correct math question answered.
Questions are nicely varied and get more difficult as the game is played and are focused teaching the basic such as counting, ordering small quantities as larger or smaller as well as simple puzzles, differentiating numbers from letters and other activities as well as simple math such as addition and subtraction.
There are other apps available that offer math problems in ways that children may not fully realize that they are practicing their math. As much as I admire these other apps, I also appreciate having children work with simple, basic problems that will better resemble the questions they will most likely face in school. These games are kept dynamic with the use of fun music, train whistles and the train’s movement as one is guided through these math exercises, adding different friendly animals to this train along the way.
Three levels of difficulty are included – which is a nice touch, but it would be great if players could save their progress as children may not be able to finish their entire game with the addition of all the animals to their train in one sitting, and it would be nice to pick up from where they left off.
Having said this, Lola’s Math Train is a nice choice for a fun, interactive educational application, as are the other Lola apps in this series.
Easter is almost here, a favorite holiday of mine especially as a child, interesting as I never grew up with Easter having much of a religious significance. For me, it meant winter was over and spring had begun.
I still love to see the Easter treats and decorations in the stores, as the soft color palette found at this time of year is so much more appealing to me that the red and green or orange and black found during other holidays.
I have not decided yet if I want to treat my son to the Über mess that dyeing Easter eggs can be, and I have not encouraged the sweet tooth I had as a child so he does not share the same excitement I have seeing the rows of Peeps or Cadbury eggs lining the shelves of our local stores.
I do want him to have some Easter fun this year, however, be it on a secular level. We are going to an Easter egg hunt at preschool, and I am excited to share a new app with him with an Easter theme as well.
KidsMag, Easter Special Edition is children’s magazine app, part of the KidsMag series of apps that my son and I really like, much akin to reading Highlights and includes fun interactions as well as engaging instructions for baking and crafts that children will enjoy.
Easter-themed, this app includes a really nice story about bunnies decorating Easter eggs, gently teaching about art and inspiration in a way that both parents as well as children will appreciate.
As cute as this app is with an abundance of eggs, bunnies and carrots, it’s nice to see how educational this application is as well, as sequencing of ideas is taught in a variety of ways.
To hear the main story found within this app about the bunny egg decorating story, tap on each individual panel of this storyboarded tale to hear short passages that relate to the illustration included in each panel, teaching children about the different sections of beginning, middle and end that one can find within a story.
Very nice instructions for baking Easter cookies are included as well. Tap on each image in sequence to hear and read these instructions, nicely broken down to be able to be followed by children in their kitchens at home. Likewise, crafty directions for making bunny ears are also included. Tap on each image to be led throughout this activity from beginning to end.
The arranging of scenes is also taught, as Easter-themed images, such as searching, finding and eating chocolate eggs are explored, as children sort these illustrations from 1 to 4, again teaching the basics of a beginning, middle and end.
I also appreciate how during many of the included activities, the iPad can be shook to bring players to additional pages of the same activity, such as spot the differences, hidden picture carrot, chocolate bunny searches or hopping bunny dot-to-dot. Basic addition, colors and a puzzle are covered in this bunny-themed application. Kids can also get creative with coloring pages as well as an egg-decorating section.
With 17 pages of content – more when one includes the shaking of the iPad to expand many of these activities, this app will keep children occupied for a nice amount of time.
Being a special addition, this app at 17 pages, is shorter than an issue of KidsMag each which have around 30 pages, but it is also less expensive and well worth the money as are the other KidsMag applications within this series, some of which have been reviewed here at GiggleApps. Please search for them if interested.