Count the Animals! is a super-cute iPhone app that will entertain adults as well as children as they explore together number counting, recognition, and sequencing from 1-20. An iPad version is also available.
Parents will soon discover after their first visit to the iTunes store the plethora of numbers app available. The sheer selection of this kind of app can be overwhelming when one is choosing what to purchase for a child. It has always been my recommendation that these kinds of apps which help teach true fundamentals should be as much if not more amusing to the parent than to the child because a lot of time may be spent with these apps, and parents should feel enthusiastic this as their attitude will rub off on their child’s experience.
Count the Animals does a marvelous job of keeping adults in mind with the whimsical interactions and animal selection, not shying away from some wonderfully strange choices that will make this app an acquired taste but which will certainly entertain the right audience a great deal.
I do love the look of this app. A few basic characters are introduced on the title page of this app which one will meet within these pages as numbers 1-20 are explored. The look of the illustrations used, how this muted palette is combined with a interesting pink color choice, and stylized clothes give this app a period feel that I enjoy, especially the magician who has a certain Fellini appeal that adults will appreciate, as do the other characters of woman and children who find themselves in odd predicaments with animals that may surprise or possibly even offend sensitive viewers - something that I never shy away from, and even sometimes gravitate towards.
Here, each number from 1-20 has a page dedicated to a corresponding number of animals. Tap each of these animals to hear these animals being counted, interacting with these creatures and characters as well.
Some of the animal choices are more commonplace, such as tapping one horse for the number “1” or two cats for the number “2,” but other animals and animations less typical among kids apps are also included, such as a woman walking four dogs, some who pee or poop when tapped; the counting of six pigeons, one of which poops on the head of the woman who is demonstrating this number; a woman being nipped by mice as she stands on a chair trying to avoid them, as well as the questionable behavior of caterpillars and spiders. Lice or flees or some sort are included in the big pink hair of one of these characters as they jump onto a boy, infecting him. Also included are the smacking of mosquitoes which leave blood-stained smears in their wake, as is the interaction for number 18. There are also other interactions that satisfy my taste for the unusual such as an unfortunate series of incidents involving tadpoles or ants on a layer cake, all of which make me well aware that this app is not for everybody but which will bring a lot of laughs for people to whom this kind of humor speaks.
I do wish, however, that a home button were available to tap because at the present time there is no way to get back to the home page, especially important as one has a nice selection of options one can choose to customize the experience. An impressive 16 languages are included as well as learning 1-20 in a random order if one chooses, counting back from the largest number in the series being focused on or the traditional sequencing starting from number 1. One can also has the option of numbers to be present when these animals are counted as well, further helping with the association of these numbers with the spoken narration. The sound effects as well as the included narration can also be turned off independently from each other - always something I like to see within an application, and the jazzy music used in the beginning and end is fun and well-done.
The scale used here is also very good here, and the focus is often on the human character, making some of the smaller animals rather slight and possibly difficult to tap with chubby little fingers. I also notice that the price here is higher that the typical $0.99 or $1.99 app - more akin to what I may expect from a universal app which would also account for some of the mild issues with size of some of these creatures that one may experience. An iPad version of this app is also available, but I do hope that in the future this iPhone version can go universal, making among other things, the price more palatable for parents.
Having said this, I have really enjoyed the interesting animal and interaction choices one can find within this app. I also appreciate that numbers 1-20 are covered here as many of these early numbers apps only go up to 10. I know that not all families will be comfortable with this kind of humor, but we definitely are, and I am sure there are other families that will enjoy this app as well.