Bottom line: a great math drill app for kids 7-10. Covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and order of operations in a fun, beat-the-clock style. Try it for FREE.
If you would like to download Numerosity (Free, iPad only) and meet the cute Skruff, just click on the handy Smart Apps for Kids link:
I was told there would be no math.
As an old English literature nerd, I seek out stuff involving Jane Austen, John Milton and my good buddy Billy Shakespeare. I avoid math at every opportunity. I managed to complete two college degrees without taking a single math class. I don't even like to have to figure out the tip when I eat out. But this app and a funny little yellow dog made math fun again, just for a short time, before I dived back into our Edgar Allan Poe app from last week.
Numerosity: Play With Math is from ThoughtBox, and it's hosted by a little dog named Skruff. Skruff introduces himself by asking if the user will help him out with this math business because, he says, "all these numbers and symbols make me dizzy." Me too, Skruff. Me too.
Numerosity is free with in-app purchases, so parents might be thinking, "No problem. I'll just get it for the free stuff and that will be enough." And indeed, the first chapter is free. Skruff leads your little mathematician through the chapter's five levels – one for each mathematical concept. The user has to complete each level before the next one will unlock, but after all the levels are unlocked, the user can hop around at will, choosing to work on one concept while ignoring the others.
Skruff, you sly dog. Now you've hooked us. The first chapter is just a tease. The real fun begins when that first in-app purchase is made.
For $5.99, parents can gain access to all five remaining chapters at once, or, for a buck or two each, to just one chapter at a time. Each chapter focuses on a different mathematical concept, and while the free chapter has just five levels, each remaining chapter has 20. TWENTY. There's enough here to keep a kid busy for days on end.
At each level, the user is playing against a clock, trying to complete as many multiple-choice problems as possible before time runs out. Skruff is there for moral support, making noises of encouragement and pointing out when little number crunchers get three in a row, ten in a row, whatever. He also gives your point total at the end of each section, and offers a little emailable certificate of completion that can be sent to parents who want to check up on their kid's progress through the app.
The interface is really easy to use, and there's a "how to play" demonstration that can be repeated in case the user doesn't get it the first time (for one of the sections, I didn't). The user can ask for hints, which come in the form of a number line or a multiplication table, for instance. So yes, it's a hint, but kids still have to use their brain to figure out the answer.
The interface leaves very little opportunity to get lost – it's pretty clear where the user is supposed to go next. And, because this app is designed for kids who are at least 7, there's less worry about ending up in some online destination parents wouldn't approve of. There's an info section that leads to the App Store, the developer's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and invites you to send ThoughtBox an email or invite a friend to play. None of these things are as worrisome with slightly older kids, it seems to me, as they might be if the app were designed for younger users.
I thought the in-app purchases might be problematic, but each one offers multiple opportunities to back out, and of course, each requires an App Store password. My five-year-old, who could handle the easiest addition sections of the app, did her best to spend my money but was shut down for lack of a password.
There aren't a lot of negatives with this app. I know it seems silly, but one of the biggest issues for me was the music. I couldn't wait to mute it, which, thank goodness, is an option. Maybe it's because math is hard enough for me as it is, but I found it distracting and annoying. Skruff can be a bit annoying, too, if the user plays with the app for any length of time, but in the end, his cuteness outweighs his sheer bugginess.
Numerosity is, overall, a pretty simple app. It focuses on one thing, and it does it well. I can see uses for this app in classrooms as well as at home, in part because there are so few bells and whistles. It's just straightforward math drills – no frills, no fancy stuff. It's not as visually appealing as, say, Bugs and Numbers, but it's far more realistic in that it presents math in ways kids are more likely to actually encounter it in the classroom. The lack of distraction is actually pretty refreshing and it combined with the hints make this app a good choice for special needs learners as well.
Highly recommended for kids struggling with math and in need of extra practice, or just to keep skills sharp. Thanks, Skruff. This is the most fun I've had with math in a long time.
Emilie Davis is happy to announce that she scored 8,249 points on Level 4 of Chapter 1. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.