Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ben's top iPad / iPhone apps this week: Shapes & Puzzles and Love To Count iPad / iPhone apps

As yesterday was Pirate Day I thought what better day to introduce Ben to two fantastic apps from the Pirate Trio Academy, an exciting new educational mobile academy for preschoolers which aims to improve skills in areas such as numeracy and geometry in a fun, effective and engaging way which young children will love. The first two apps which are part of this project are Shapes & Puzzles which improves your child's ability to recognise shapes and sizes through it's many fun puzzles and Love To Count which introduces basic numeracy skills such as counting, addition, subtraction, sequences and so on.
Four modes to select from
The Shapes & Puzzles app has two hundred puzzles for the iPad version and one hundred and eighty for the iPhone. When you load the app there are four modes to select from which includes three puzzle options which vary in presentation of the puzzles and the pieces and a toddler focused mode to teach the names of shapes. I liked the different modes, the first of which presented the full puzzle with the shapes to be slotted in along the side so immediately you could visualise what the end picture would be like. The second mode built up the picture by revealing one shape at a time which added a little bit of excitement as to what the end result would be. The last mode included detailing on some of the shapes such as the rungs of a ladder on a square, which made it more jigsaw-like and hence forces children to think about where exactly to place each individual shape.
Drag shapes to correct place on the picture puzzle
Shape silhouettes added one by one to reveal picture
Some shapes have details such as the fireman's ladder
Teaching Shapes mode
This app is aimed at three plus years but I found Ben, who has just turned two was very capable of doing the puzzles. In comparison to other similar shape puzzle apps for preschoolers which I have come across it has a lot more pieces per puzzle which is good for the age range it is targeted at as it offers a little more of a challenge. This app will not only keep your little one entertained but help to develop shape recognition, geometry, and encourage them to look at things in their surroundings and spot the shapes which they are composed of. I believe Ben picked up on this immediately as while we were drawing a house later, he pointed out a triangle shape I had used as the roof, said triangle and he then proceeded to make a triangle shape with his hand - I cannot say for certain if this was a result of playing the app earlier but it is a big coincidence if not.
Love to count: Profiles can be accessed by clicking the round icon on the lower left hand corner which is added one set up
The second app I want to tell you about from the Pirate Trio Academy is Love To Count which deals with all things numerical helping to introduce basic arithmetic, sequences, counting and so on. To begin with you set up a profile for your child so that you can track progress in the various skills targeted by the app through the following screen.
Progress Tracking screen
As you can set up individual profiles per child it allows multiple kids to use the app while retaining their own progress and tracking individual performance. This app is aimed at four to seven year olds so Ben is still a little young but as he can recognise numbers, count to ten and identify the correct order sequence of numbers we were still able to play with the app in our own way with me telling him the answer and asking him to find the number and also do things such as pick out the next number in a sequence when ordering them.

I really like the fun way the app teaches addition, subtraction and fractions which I can see is of huge benefit to children slightly older than Ben. It deals with the basics of mathematics in a fun and effective way and I can see Ben learning a lot from it in the future. Some examples of the types of questions it poses are as follows:
Subtraction
Ordering and Number Sequences
Counting
Addition
Addition & Subtraction
Fractions

Ordering
In my opinion these are great educational apps which are sure to help develop your child's skills in a number of areas while maintaining a fun element which in my opinion enhances learning. These are the kind of apps which help lay the fundamental building blocks of mathematics, geometry and so on which will most definitely serve to be of benefit to any child. The apps are well designed with child (and parent) friendly navigation and I have to say I love the pirate theme as does Ben. I highly recommend these apps and they get a big thumbs up from Ben too! I firmly believe that you can never start introducing number and basic maths and shapes early enough and these are a great fun way to do so.
Ben busy playing Shapes & Puzzles

Shapes & Puzzles can be downloaded for £1.99 and Love to Count for £2.49 from the AppStore and are compatible with both the iPad and iPhone.

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received promo codes to review these apps but this has in no way biased my opinion - I believe they are great fun yet educational apps. 

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