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Montessori Math City Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on October 23rd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ENGAGING EXERCISES
Montessori Math City offers interactive narrated activities and creates an intuitive math experience.
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Bug Mazing - Adventures in Learning Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on October 15th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EDUCATIONAL MAZE FUN
Bug Mazing - Adventures in Learning is a maze app with educational components and a great sense of style.
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Drive About: Number Neighborhood Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on June 23rd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FUN NUMBERS
Drive About: Number Neighboorhood includes nine mini-games for kids to enjoy.
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Grandpa in Space Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on June 2nd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SPACE-THEMED FUN
Grandpa in Space includes both NASA videos and space facts, as well as mini-games for young children.
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Moose Math - by Duck Duck Moose Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on November 7th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MATH MADE FUN
Moose Math includes interactive math exercises children will love exploring.
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Pango Imaginary Car Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on June 24th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Pango Imaginary Car is an app that allows children to create cars and other vehicles by combining various parts together.

I enjoy this app. It is a concept that is not exactly unique, yet this is an app that is of very high quality and utterly appealing.

The first thing one will notice when opening this app is color. A bright, sophisticated lime-green color makes up the background of the center screen where one builds his creation, dragging vehicle elements from the tabs seen left of the page. Eight tabs are included, with details that will create the body of the car, such as the front ends of a few differently shaped cars, trucks and a train as well as basic shapes that can be used to create a larger vehicle as well.

A section of tires is included, including caterpillar tracks as well as novel, articulated feet with a fun vintage feel, adding to the overall whimsy of this application. Other robot appendages are available such as, with arms and legs that open this app to so much more than vehicles, such as accessories like a flag, siren, bell, siren and even portholes and a figurehead dragon to mount on the bow of a ship created. House wares are also included to make a vehicle more homey if one would like.

A palette of sunny yellow, pleasing blue and bright orange is used within these details - bright and colorful - adding to the richness of this app. I also admire the nod to blueprints as a grid pattern can be seen to help children line up their pieces into clean lines and 90 degree angles for the best aesthetic results.

Also note that one can use this app very open-endedly to create the vehicle of one’s dreams, but there is also a choice of templates which one can fill in to create fantasy vehicles as well - be it helicopter, Viking ship, submarine, rocket or robot, adding children's own special touches as well to make these creations one's own.

I do admire the outlines offered to users as a way of prompting their creative vehicle designs, adding an element of tangrams to this delightful app. It would be nice, however, if there were a bit of “Grab” included - an element found in some puzzle apps where the piece is slightly drawn as if my magnetism to the correct area, oftentimes with a satisfying “click” heard when the pieces are placed in their rightful places, as without it, it is difficult to lay down these pieces perfectly.

I also find that although I appreciate the use of vehicle pieces that need rotation, I do find that the rotation of these details - best accomplished by tapping and holding a car part for stability as a second finger rotates the piece - to be functional yet still cumbersome - an issue I would love to see smoothed out in a future update.

When the vehicle creation is complete, do tap the “play” triangle at the top left of the design page to be delivered to one of a few differently styled landscape pages where the created vehicle will become animated and drive about when applicable details like wheels, gears, propellers or buzz saws are tapped to engage animation and sound effects.

I really enjoy the look of these included backgrounds, each simplistic yet highly effective, be it a blue-toned cityscape or a mountain area realized using grey tones, each of these five landscapes bringing great richness to this application.

Visually, this app is quite delightful as the use of color as well as the included textured distressing seen throughout these included shapes and backdrops really speak to me. Included music is upbeat and fun as well, easily turned off if the user desires. The ability to take a snapshot of one’s completed vehicle is also an option.

Although this is not an entirely new concept, the bright and bold delivery of Pango Imaginary Car really makes it stand out for me among other apps such as this. The animated special pieces are a wonderful touch as well, making this an easy app to recommend.

GazziliMath Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on June 18th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

GazziliMath is a charming and fun math app that includes six bright and colorful animal-themed sections that focus on a variety of early math topics.

GazziliMath is part of a series of engaging educational applications which include scripted narration which lead children through each exercise that include learning about numerals, counting, adding one, the concept of ten, subtraction and halves - nicely increasing the difficulty of these sections.

Children will be drawn into the world of GazziliMath as they use animals during their visit to Gazzili Park, visiting different areas of this park - very zoo-like in the different animal habitats that one visits.

Also nicely included is a musical section where children can unlock a new instrument when completing each section. This page is lively with animation as animals play these instruments which sound very good and truly quite musical as one can tap these instruments on or off to mix together different sounds.

The one note I do have for this app is that it would have been nice to see and hear each number counted if the objects in question are tapped when children perform the simple math asked of them in this app.

I do like, however, that included settings allowing one to keep or remove the wonderful spoken instructions that lead children through these activities as well as muting the narration but having the option to include the words to be read by oneself, as well as other narration and text combinations. The sound effects as well as music can be silenced separately as well - always a nice touch.

GazziliMath is a very nice choice for an early math app. The interactions are math-based and although other hotspots exist that include mild animation and sound effects, they are never random or distracting, making this an app worth checking out.

Mystery Math Town Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on April 17th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on March 13th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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.

The Math Tree Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on January 24th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 28th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 15th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 15th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 2nd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 7th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

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.