Doodle Math: Numbers

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Doodle Math: Numbers App Poster Image
Early number practice rounded up into cute, playful games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn all about numbers up to 10 and can practice combining, subtracting, matching, and comparing. Kids also explore size, quantity, and concepts of bigger and smaller as they arrange numbers and objects. As they experiment with ways to partition big numbers into smaller ones, they discover that 5 can be made from 2 + 3 or 4 + 1. For the youngest users, some of the more advanced concepts may get lost because there's no scaffolding, but an adult can help kids understand how numbers work in fact families and number bonds, if they want kids to go beyond the activities. In terms of versatility and appeal, Doodle Math: Numbers gives kids a lot to explore and practice.

Ease of Play

Play is simple even without the brief tutorials that accompany each game.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Doodle Math: Numbers is a sweet introduction to a variety of numbers concepts including number names, counting, and basic addition and subtraction using numbers 1 through 10. When kids complete 10 mini-games in a row, they earn a puzzle piece. Put the puzzles together to complete pictures of the silly creatures featured throughout the app. Kids can play the games in English or Korean. Note that in the tracing activity, the number 9 is presented with the vertical line hooking at the bottom, like a lowercase "g," and guidance for tracing might not follow common handwriting instruction.

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What's it about?

DOODLE MATH: NUMBERS has six games in which kids identify, trace, count, partition, arrange, and add and subtract numbers 1 through 10. When kids finish 10 tasks in a game, they get a puzzle piece. Keep playing to collect enough pieces to complete pictures of the little creatures that appear throughout the games. Games can be played in any order, though there is a vague sense of increasing sophistication if kids start at the beginning and proceed in order.

Is it any good?

A nice presentation of cute mini-games approaches number literacy from multiple angles that build in complexity. Though there's a nice progression, some games may not provide enough scaffolding for the target age range. For example, it can be hard for young kids to start counting up from 3 (rather than starting at 1), and there's no explicit guidance for the partitioning and simple arithmetic games, so kids may get the game but not the number concept, which can easily fly over their heads. There also are a few quirks that some may find charming while others may find them annoying: The narrator's sweet encouragement can quickly turn grating, some word choices are a bit odd (at one point the creatures are described as "naughty," which isn't accurate), and it takes a long time to earn all the puzzle pieces. Also, the tracing game has kids approach the number 5 in an unusual way (not from the top horizontal line), and the number 9 might not be written in the way kids recognize, though it won't confuse them in the context. Despite minor flaws, the games provide solid early learning practice -- especially with a little conceptual reinforcement from a grown-up -- and it's a nice collection of games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the ways numbers appear in our daily lives. Count steps as you walk up stairs, divide groups of blocks into smaller groups, and take one item away and add it back and see what happens.

  • Play with your kids and talk them through what's going on when they partition numbers. Point out that there can be multiple ways to break up some numbers into fact families.

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