Dano Pirate and the Numbers

App Name: Dano Pirate and the Numbers HD

Golden App AwardOverall Rating: 5/5

Mom’s Rating: 5/5

Kids’ Rating: 5/5

Apps for Homeschooling 5/5 ApplesRecommended Grades/Ages: Preschool, Kindergarten

Skills Developed: Numbers, Counting, Number Order, Printing

Available On/Price: iPhone/iPod – $2.99iPad – $3.99

Reviewed on: iPad

App Description:

Dano Pirate and the Numbers is quite possibly the most robust counting app we own.  It includes 12 mini-games designed to teach and reinforce counting and number skills from 1-9 with a wide range of strategies.

The game can be started from the beginning and played with a random assortment of characters and activities from front to back (this is a good mix of all the different mini-games to comprehensively cover counting skills), or your child can pick their favorite characters and games for a more customized experience.

There are eight different Count How Many activities.  Some ask you to tap groups of items that match a written and spoken number, others ask your child to count existing objects and tap on the corresponding number (this one actually allows tap-counting and verbally counts for your child, a great manipulative teaching tool).  This two-sided approach is really wonderful.

There is a writing activity that teaches the printing of letters that is very well done (finger tracing or capacitive touch stylus depending on fine motor skills), a number reading activity where you help Dano reach the princess by tapping on the number specified (sometimes this involves visually determining which number is right side up and which is upside down as well).

There are two activities for count forward and back, in the first Dano is asked to jump his way to an island by starting on the first jumping platform and then jumping up or down in order (what comes after or before the starting number).  The other forward and back activity asks your child to fill in missing numbers on a ladder.

Most of the activities automatically become more difficult based on your child’s progress.  So the counting activities start with 1-3 and move up, the number 1 is the first number traced, and the first maze is stepping from number 1 to number 1.  Your child will start by counting small quantities of objects in the tap to count activity, count up from 1-5 while hopping to the island, and fill in missing numbers of easy ladder steps from 1-3 before moving onto more complex ladder sequences with multiple missing numbers and orders that don’t start with 1.

These changes in difficulty are subtle, but cumulatively move your child towards numbers mastery in small, easy-to-master steps.  As the app progresses it builds in cumulative review so that previously tackled numbers aren’t forgotten.  There is a progress screen where you can view how far your child has progressed through the app showing the levels completed for each of the three main categories of activities and how they have scored overall (out of five stars).  You can also

All of the instructions are verbal and appropriate for preschool/kindergarten pre-readers.

The screenshots shown are for the iPad.

What We Liked:

I have been using Pirate Dano and the Numbers as one of the core apps for my 5-year-old this year. I bought it for Talk Like a Pirate day and we’ve been using it regularly ever since.  It hits number knowledge from so many angles, with so many interactive games that it is really hard NOT to learn numeration from this app.

It took a long time for associating numerals with quantity to really cement with my oldest daughter, so I’m incredibly happy to have high-quality apps like Pirate Dano available to reinforce and back-up my formal lessons on numbers.  It takes SO much repetition to nail this skill, and you really need to get it down before you move on to operational math.

I assign this app like a formal lesson; it’s really that good.  I’m happy to say that I have seen my daughter’s familiarity with numbers increasing, something I credit largely to Pirate Dano.  The incremental automatic increase of difficulty means that your child will never feel he’s been tossed into the deep-end, the app starts easy and builds slowly, step-by-step.

The top-notch graphics, animation, and design make this app a pleasure for children to use.

What We Didn’t Like:

I’d love to see multiple-players enabled on this app.  I have two girls who want to play it (3 and 5) and the app automatically progresses in difficulty based on playing history, so that just isn’t possible, one girl at a time only on this one – there isn’t an easy way to reset the app either. The sticker page could use more work – not many stickers to choose from, and there is no way to remove stickers.


If you are looking for a comprehensive counting app, Dano Pirate and the Numbers is my top recommendation.  Combining the approaches and learning strategies necessary to tackle counting from many angles, Dano Pirate is fun for kids, but serious about counting under the hood where it counts.

Buy Dano Pirate and the Numbers iPhone/iPod for $2.99 now!
Dano Pirate & The Numbers - Bambino Avenue

Buy Dano Pirate and the Numbers HD iPad for $3.99 now!
Dano Pirate & The Numbers HD - Bambino Avenue

Have you downloaded this app?  Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!