Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles App Poster Image
Learn early math skills with a buddy; fun but repetitive.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to match number to quantity: They'll practice quickly identifying groups of two, three, four, and five, regardless of how items are arranged (in a line, in circle, and so on). If kids play on their own, they'll work on manual dexterity and coordination. If they play with a friend, they'll practice communication skills, teamwork, and coordination with someone else. Gracie and Friends Treasure Bubbles not only helps kids build number sense, it also encourages kids to work with someone else to accomplish a goal.

Ease of Play

Game is simple and explained well. Kids need to tap and hold and tap and drag. Kids play on their own or with a friend; either way some minimal coordination is necessary. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gracie and Friends Treasure Bubbles is part of a suite of apps that aim to teach one very specific math skill: subitizing, or recognizing quantity without having to count. Activities cover numbers 2 through 5. This game is designed for two people to play together, though kids could play on their own easily enough. Either way, kids may need a bit of practice in tapping, holding, and dragging. Unlike the other games in the suite, numerals are never introduced; kids work with recognizing quantity only. On the developer's website, parents can find printable materials and offscreen games that extend learning. 

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What's it about?

GRACIE AND FRIENDS TREASURE BUBBLES is designed for two players, though with good coordination kids could play on their own. Each player must tap and hold a bubble wand to blow two bubbles with the target number of treasures inside. Then, each player taps and drags a character to pop bubbles that hold the target number of treasures (three treasures can be lined up in a row or stacked like a pyramid). Levels progress in order from two treasures up to five and then repeat for a second round. 

Is it any good?

As with all apps in this suite, Gracie and Friends Treasure Bubbles is sharply focused on one math skill -- subitizing -- and it covers it well. Kids will get good practice quickly judging quantity as they filter which bubbles have the right number of treasures and which don't. The co-play feature is a nice way to get kids working together with another kid or a grown-up. However, popping the bubbles requires some quick thinking and moving; it may be hard to coordinate choosing bubbles and moving in the right direction quickly enough. Blowing bubbles is such a classically exciting activity for young kids that they're bound to love blowing and popping to their heart's content -- all without getting the floor wet with bubble solution. Yet, with only five levels and no variation in mode of play, even bubbles may start to bore kids. Also, it would be nice to see the second round of levels increase the challenge rather than simply repeat the first cycle. Overall, this is a free, super fun -- if short-lived -- and worthwhile part of the Gracie and Friends subitizing suite.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the places where numbers and quantity appear. How many forks are on the table? How many shoes are on the floor?

  • Count everyday items, such as eggs, and point out written numerals, such as the 6 written on a half-dozen egg carton.

  • Practice judging quantity quickly and without regard to how items are arranged. Group items and ask kids to quickly say how many are there. Rearrange and ask again.

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For kids who love math and preschool games

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