Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Monkey Math School Sunshine - Preschool Level Math Activities

Purpose of App: Teach basic math concepts in a fun, no pressure manner.

Strengths: No time limit to solve problems. Can create different user profiles to keep track of awards and modify difficulty levels per child. The app automatically adjusts difficulty as child advances.

Weaknesses: No metrics for parents to see how a child is doing in different areas.

Suggested Audience: Children working at a preschool level on math and pattern recognition.

Meets Intended Goal
Worth the Price
Ease of Use
Educational Value
  Level of Customization

If you would like to download Monkey Math School Sunshine ($1.99, iPad/iPhone), please show your support by using our link:

External links to developer website in parental locked section

I'm a huge advocate of anything that makes math fun, especially for young kids. Monkey Math School Sunshine by THUP Games is much more than an introduction to numbers. The silly little monkey teaches eight main skills, including patterns, addition, subtraction, tracing and sequences. The games are cute and so much fun that kids will not realize they are learning important math concepts.

The way this app was designed limits typical frustrations associated with learning math. The main focus is getting the right answer, not how fast or how many tries it takes. There is no time limit so kids can take as long as they need on each question. If a child gets a question wrong then a small "boing" sound is made to let them know that their response registered, but was not correct. It is good simple feedback in that it is not such a fun and silly noise that kids will purposefully get the answers wrong in order to get the negative response.

Up to three user profiles can be created. Each profile can be named and customized to that child's educational level. It will keep track of that child's achievements. It would be nice if a parent could see a comprehensive breakdown of how a child is doing. Even something as simple as the number of correct answers out of the number attempted in each skill set would be beneficial.

Once children start playing, they advance to the next randomly selected activity. No matter how long they play or how many activities they complete a new activity will automatically begin after each is completed. After completing five or so tasks, children will be awarded with a prize for their fish tank. The prizes stay for each user profile, even after leaving the app. Children can keep growing their aquarium, and if they need a break while playing activities, they can view their tank at anytime by pressing the fish icon in the upper left hand corner at any time.

The app automatically advances the child based on their ability using Knack Technology. Basically, as a child keeps practicing and doing well, the app automatically makes the activities a little more challenging. Each level, except number tracing, has three different levels of difficulty. Parents can check to see what level each child is using in the parental section.

Features in the parental section allow the auto advancing to be turned off, as well as the ability to select a specific category and the level of difficulty for each of the eight different categories. The settings can be customized for each of the three available player accounts. So, if a child has mastered patterns, but is still struggling with number ordering, the level of difficulty can be different for each category. Also, if a child is needing to focus on only a few concepts, all other categories can be turned off, leaving only ones desired in rotation.

The little monkey's positive reinforcement, sticker awards, and continuous play make Monkey Math School Sunshine a stand out preschool math app. This app has a great balance of engaging fun and educational value for any child working at a preschool level in math.

From iTunes:
From the creators of the #1 Preschool App “Monkey Preschool Lunchbox”! Join your child’s favorite monkey in math games and activities in a playfully designed beach-themed world. 

Monkey Math School Sunshine allows your child to build fundamental math skills while they are endlessly entertained. Your child will count, add and sort their way through engaging games with uninterrupted play.
For ages 3 to 6.

★9 interactive games that teach kids about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting.
★With very little interface, your child presses one button to immediately launch into uninterrupted play. 
★Uses Knack Technology to instinctively adjust the challenge levels to each individual player. 
★Irresistibly cute monkey guides the child through game play with animated celebrations for correct answers and gentle redirection for incorrect ones.
★Kids collect prizes to fill their very own INTERACTIVE AQUARIUM.
★Uninterrupted and unlimited play: game continues as long as the player desires. 

★ADD IT UP and TAKE IT AWAY  Use your addition and subtraction skills to solve math problems. Trusty crab assistants supply multiple-choice options.
★PATTERNS Monkey has a problem: Objects keep popping out of his bucket, creating a pattern - but one piece is missing! Help Monkey by completing the pattern with the choices provided.
★SHAPES  Is it an octagon? Or maybe a hexagon? Count each side of these shapes and help Monkey figure it out. 
★SEQUENCES Monkey has a group of numbers in the right order, but some are missing. Help him complete the sequence with the correct numbers. 
★LESS/MORE Monkey loves to blow bubbles, when he does, groups of shells, fish or turtles are inside each bubble! Use your expertise to figure out which bubble has either the most or least objects inside.
★BIGGER/SMALLER Which bubble has the bigger number? Which bubble has the smaller one? Help Monkey figure it out by popping the correct bubble.
★CONNECT THE DOTS Baby Turtle is stuck on the beach and she needs your help to get to the sea! Connect the dots to show her the way. 
★WRITE IT UP! Help Monkey learn his numbers by tracing them in the sand. 
★BUBBLE POP Monkey is running out of time! Pop all the bubbles that have either the right number or the right amount of objects inside before the time runs out!

Rachel H's daughter has been busy playing with a rainbow loom bracelet maker the whole time she was writing this review.

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