Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Smart Numbers

Smart Numbers

Spring 2017 Toys
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Manufacturer: Marbotic
Price: $59.99

Smart Numbers merges physical and digital play—no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth required. Inspired by the legendary Montessori Method, this charming and effective educational "toy" uses a tablet, smart-touch wooden numbers, three free apps, and multi-touch screen technology to teach numerals, counting to 10 and basic addition and subtraction skills.

For example, in the app perfectly titled "10 Fingers," there are three options for learning: symbols, numerals and addition. We start slowly, with snails of course. Children press each snail, in no required order, and hear the count sound off. Play moves on to include a worm eating an apple, a frog expecting rain, or a colander filled with spinach (or is it the dreaded kale?) children press fingers or the wooden numbers to the tablet screen to see, hear, and learn numbers 1 - 10. The basic subtraction is demonstrated with wit. A Pacman like gobbler devours the numbers to be subtracted. The three free apps, 10 Fingers, More or Less, and Up to 100, all have in app purchases. But there is more than enough material for a test drive and practice.

In our experience, the 6 and the 9 wooden toys could be used interchangeably, and we applauded that age-appropriate and forgiving design. Although we occasionally encountered a problem with our number 4 wooden toy, and happened upon an audio artifact, none of that deterred the joy of learning. The artwork, the sound design, the teaching methodology and the performance add up to solid gold.

For current or aspiring bilingual families, the apps are available in 13 languages: American English, British English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Swedish, and Danish. Smart Numbers is compatible with all iPads and many Samsung tablets.

Claire Green   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

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