How Many What? is a nice universal educational app focused on counting, object and word recognition, lovingly illustrated by famed Italian comic strip artist Giorgio Cavazzano who has also worked as an illustrator for Disney. This application, although pleasantly interactive, does not contain extra bells and whistles that some parents and children may find distracting.
There are seven modes to choose from, making up two basic activities - animal or object picture and word recognition or basic counting. In the first Flash Card section, one can tap an illustration or corresponding word to hear the name narrated, later being quizzed on what has been learned, being given two and then three words to choose from. In the number sections, one counts a group of animals or objects, given the choice of two or three numbers to choose from as well as offering two and three number choices spelled out in letters instead of number symbols.
I like how easy this interface is to use and the basic Flash Card section would be perfect for toddler with or without parental involvement, but the other sections are best used with the help of an adult.
In the object and word sections, one can tap the animal or object in question to hear the name narrated and one must tap the matching word on the top of the screen as well, with either two or three word choices. I wish these words could be tapped to hear before the player’s decision is made, also with a tap, as I think kids will have be familiar with these words by hearing their names, allowing them to correctly match what they have heard. I don’t, however, believe it is realistic to think kids will be able to recognize these words by sight alone.
If a wrong answer is made, this word is narrated and disappears, leaving the correct answer on the screen also to be tapped and heard, so one will be able to solve these exercises by the process of elimination and some children may learn to recognize these words in this manner. However, I use these sections a bit differently with my son.
My son, 3+, understands his phonic sounds so I will give him hints to these words, asking him to look for the “Z” zebra in Zebra, or “W” sound in Watch, giving him what he needs to be able to choose the correct word in question.
We like the counting section as well and my son enjoys counting what there is on each page, but it would be nice if when tapped, the narration would count the objects in sequence, helping the player get to the number he is looking for. My son is very good at choosing the correct number in question but needs help recognizing these numbers in word form, so I give him clues here as well.
As one may expect, these drawings are simply lovely, and I have enjoyed them very much. Coloring book pages are also available that one may email and then print from, a nice touch.
Parents may need to add hints of their own to help their children recognize the correct words they are looking for, but working together, children and adults will have fun with this educational app.