Montessori Numbers App Review
Mom’s Rating: 5/5
Kids’ Rating: 5/5
Skills Developed: Counting, Place Value, Base Ten Math
Available On/Price: iPad – $2.99
Reviewed on: iPad
Any parent who has taught a child to count knows that connecting written numbers with quantity can require a lot of repetition and various approaches. Montessori Numbers includes four different math activities that help children to make this all-important connection and to develop a good understanding of place value from the units to the hundreds.
1-20 provides the foundation of connecting printed numbers with physically quantifiable objects. Three levels (1-5, 1-10, and 11-20) are provided for your child to practice connecting objects they can tap and drag with written numbers. Your child watches an animated demonstration of the activity before taking their turn. Objects are tapped an dragged into placeholders beside the number shown. So if a 3 is displayed, your child needs to tap and drag three objects up beside the three. Once three objects have been moved correctly the printed numeral 3 bounces and says its name. Each object is counted as it is placed, and the objects are all recounted and animated once the correct number of objects is placed. Upon completion of the entire screen (whether 1-5, 1-10, or 11-20) children can play another round, or enter the Building Game (see below for details).
Quantity includes three levels (1-9, 10-99, and 100-999). Your child is asked to ‘get’ a number within the target range using their tappable objects. You can select whether to display the number to find visually or whether to only hear it spoken. Each time an object is dragged into the box the counter goes up by one and the current total is stated. Objects are stacked vertically (like a 10 or 100 unit block depending on the level) and once the correct number of objects is reached the screen sparkles and the number is announced. The target number can be tapped at any time to hear it again.
Numerals includes three levels (1-9, 10-99, and 100-999). Your child is asked to find a number within the target range and to tap and drag the numbers displayed at the bottom of the screen (from 0-9) into the placeholders given. As numbers are selected and placed in the empty slots a visual representation of the numbers appears in blocks of 100, blocks of 10, or individual units. As the number changes it is spoken aloud. The speaking icon can be tapped to hear the question again at any time. Once the correct number is found the screen sparkles.
Numerals (from quantity) includes three levels (1-9, 10-99, and 100-999). Your child is shown a number of objects from the given range and is asked to select the correct numbers from the bottom of the screen to represent the quantity given. Objects can be moved around the screen to be counted and can then be realigned with the tap of a button. As the number selected changes it is read each time – it can also be tapped at any time to hear it read. When the correct number is found the screen sparkles.
The Building Game is provided as a motivational tool (you can turn it off or set it’s appearance after a certain number of activities – set a timer etc.) It provides your children with the manipulatives/numbers etc. that their finished activity displayed. Your child can rotate these elements, clear the screen, change the colors for the numbers, change the object type etc. Gravity can be switched on and off (floating cupcakes!), objects can be moved individually or in groups – they can be tossed, slid, stacked – and deleted individually as well. This is a multi-touch play screen and touching the background results in a variety of streamer-style fireworks of different shapes that can be trailed across the screen. It’s a simple concept – but just watch how much fun your children will have!
Six different sets of skins are available for your child to practice their skills with – each includes different objects to count and a different background. Diamonds and purple linen, pearly beads and satin, cupcakes and gingham, wood blocks on wood, flowers on grass, and cars on a blue sky. This really helps with motivation – your child can choose their favorite set of objects to work with.
The incorporation of base-ten imagery – with units that are stacked to form columns of 10 and columns that are lined up to form squares of 100 – is most visible when the wooden blocks are chosen, but this arrangement of objects into units, tens, and hundreds is visible with all objects and carried through in all of the app’s activities. Numbers are also color coded to math common base-ten systems: units are green, tens are blue, and hundreds are red – coordinating with both Montessori and Math-U-See approaches.
Parents can also choose from an American, British, or Australian English voice, turn the saying of numbers on and off, set how often the Building Game button appears, set a time limit on the Building Game, set animation preferences and whether your child can move objects after successfully completing that task.
The app also comes with a Parent’s Guide that loads within the app in the parent’s section that gives some tips on how to use the app.
Other Notes: This app does not include in-app purchases, advertising, or social media integration. It does include external links and links to email in two parents-only areas that are protected with a math question.
What We Liked:
Montessori Numbers is beautifully designed – not only graphically, but also in the sense that everything does what you would expect and hope it to do – and more! Each number says its name when tapped, individual items are counted as they are added to collections, counting is continually reinforced verbally at every step.
I love that the app includes both approaches to counting and place value – both from numeral to quantity, and from quantity back to numeral. Many apps offer one approach – few offer both, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that offered both for counting and place value.
Learning place value through the base ten system is so powerful and effective – families using any Montessori-based, or Math-U-See program will resonate strongly with this presentation and find the app an ideal supplement to their existing curriculum. In all honesty though, this app alone can easily replace the first half of a Kindergarten math program if you sit with your child to ensure they are working to mastery before moving him up in levels as knowledge and understanding increases.
The app is entirely positive throughout – there is no negative reinforcement – if an answer is incorrect the question simply won’t finish – your child can keep trying until the fireworks go off. The ability to display the Building Game after only a certain number of activity rounds, and to set a time limit make it much easier to use this bonus activity as a motivational reward (my daughters could spend a LOT of time building and forget about getting back to the math!)
Montessori Numbers is the fullest, most systematic app I’ve found to help develop those all-important counting, numeration, and early place value skills from a variety of angles. This is a rock-solid, not to be missed early math app.
What We Didn’t Like:
Not a dislike, more of a heads-up. If you’re looking for an app that your child can just grab and sit down with, this likely isn’t it. Young children will need a bit of help with you selecting age-appropriate levels for them, and encouraging them to repeat multiple rounds of an activity before heading to the building game.
Montessori Numbers provides a variety of excellent activities that help children make vital connections between numbers and quantities while establishing a firm understanding of place value – both foundational skills before tackling operational math. You won’t want to miss adding this uniquely multi-faceted app as a key resource in your app toolbox for the early years.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!