App review: Zorbit’s Math Adventure

I was fine with math, until an unfortunate collision of differing curriculums, a bad teacher and a change of schools made me dislike it. I’m keen to keep my son from feeling this way about it, so anything that keeps math fun I’m happy to try.

Zorbit’s Math Adventure is an iPad or iPhone app for preschoolers (ages 3-5), designed specifically to nip that math anxiety in the bud.

I know a game has been well-designed for children when I can just let Elliot get on with it. Sitting next to him, I didn’t get the mummy-help-me elbow even once. There’s no reading involved with the menus or instructions, instead kids are guided along by Zorbit and his friends. If you’re in a public place, headphones are a good idea, as it really needs sound to play. The app automatically detects it if you plug in some headphones, and the volume drops, so you won’t have to worry about blasting your child away.

Activity follows activity, so kids aren’t bumped out to a menu system every time they finish something. In terms of math concepts, the game covers counting to 20, ordering, bigger v smaller amounts, classifying things, sorting into groups and recognising positions. It’s worth noting that if your child is competent with these concepts already, they may whip through the levels.

One thing that bothered me about this app was one of the activities involved counting gum balls. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but my son was asking me for gumballs for days and days after playing this. None of us chew gum and I’m not about to start giving him sugar balls, so I was a bit dismayed. Next time, maybe an apple tree? Bowls of kale? I know, I know. It’s hardly a deal breaker, but why bring up candy with this age group if you don’t have to!

I also wish there was a reporting feature as some of the other learning apps have started to include, to let me know how he is progressing, either by email or inside the app.

However, my son took to the app easily and continued to play through it until he was finished, not something he does with every app by a long chalk.

It’s worth noting there are no in-app purchases or hidden charges to this one, once you’ve paid the app price that’s it. It’s slightly more than some of the others in this category, but other education apps ask you to pay for more ‘units’ once you’ve downloaded the first one. Overall, I think it’s good value for money. Also – no need for wifi, very handy.

Plus what preschooler can resist a virtual sticker reward page that burps and farts.

Zorbit’s Math Adventure | $3.99 in Canada & US / £2.49 in UK

Disclosure: I was given this app to review by the developers, but my thoughts are my own (and my son’s!).

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