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.
The Math Tree
Released: 2012-12-20 00:00:00
Description from the DeveloperCome learn arithmetic with The Math Tree! Add and subtract bluebirds, doves, plums, peaches and more in this captivating introduction to addition, subtraction, and numerical equations. The hands-on, count-as-you go approach is a natural extension of early counting skills, presented with powerful simplicity. Incredibly cute graphics and melodious sounds make this app a genuine pleasure for parents and kids alike. The Math Tree was created by the developers of the best-selling apps Shape-O! ABC's and Counting Caterpillar, and is especially customized for preschool to kindergarten aged children.
Learning by doing:
Actively tapping and moving items to and from the tree is an engaging way to assist a child's progress from basic counting to simple addition and subtraction using numbers from zero to ten. Don't worry if your child is not sure of the answer - they can tap to count the items remaining in the tree, and mirror the activity by counting on their fingers. As the task is completed, the numerical equation is highlighted piece by piece, demonstrating the relationship between the parts.
Tap or drag to help owls, bluebirds, cardinals, doves, canaries and blackbirds hop up into the tree. Now count them. How many birds are in the tree now? Select the correct answer from the multiple choice keypad - the voiceover will gently guide you in the right direction.
Help the two forest bunnies fill their basket with apples, oranges, peaches, pears, lemons and plums from the tree. How many pieces of fruit are remaining in the tree? Select the correct answer to complete the equation.
As each equation is completed, golden coins are awarded. Collect 10 golden coins to win a trophy - nearly a dozen trophies in all!
The Math Tree features:
❤ Powerfully simple gameplay
❤ Addition, subtraction, and counting from 0 to 10
❤ Hands-on, encouraging teaching method
❤ Gratifying golden coin reward system
❤ High-quality custom crafted graphics and sound
❤ Child friendly interface design
❤ No third-party advertising
❤ No in-app purchases
At Bellamon we craft every app with meticulous attention to detail. The illustrations recall the simplicity of paper cut-outs and hand drawn lines. The custom music and sounds are put together by our own sound design team using real instruments, producing sounds which are fun and also pleasing to hear. We emphasize clear, high-quality voiceover. We believe that kids deserve the very highest standards of interaction design.
As parents ourselves, we make apps that not only cover educational ground, but are also imbued with playfulness, encourage creativity, and give a feeling of accomplishment. The large, colorful game elements are designed for small fingers and intuitive game flow. We spend a lot of time thinking, planning and refining to get the balance between entertainment and education just right. We always work in consultation with education specialists, teachers, parents and most importantly, kids! Who says learning can't be fun?
Bellamon! Serious learning with a sense of humor.