I recently checked out the educational apps section of iTunes and found The Math Tree, a universal app which is prominently displayed. I am always on the look out for intuitive math apps for the youngest app user, yet at first glance The Math Garden did not stand out as highly unique among other math apps that also teach beginner math concepts.
Looking closer, I saw that this app is developed by Bellamon, whose earlier apps, Shape-o’s - a tangram app and Counting Caterpillar - a counting app, are wonderful kids' apps as well as highly stylized. I knew that The Math Tree would be a good bet.
I must say that although the images from iTunes show the basic game play of this app where one subtracts fruit from the math tree center screen or adds birds to the tree to teach addition, the small pictures do not do this app justice as the pleasing textures of felt and other materials can’t be seen to show how visually interesting this app is.
I do love the look of this app, bright and colorful, with a wonderful collage effect using cut paper and fabric that makes me smile.
Narration is included that explains what is being asked of players, also seen as a math problem in the sky above the leaves of the tree prominently displayed. Children are asked not only to take away or add objects, but also included is a mixture of fruit or birds - be it black birds or owls, adding to the details used as well as teaching about various fruits or birds and following specific directions.
Tap the fruit to remove, and one will notice that a shadow is created at the bottom of the screen where one places the fruit being subtracted or up in the tree where one is asked to place the bird as well as music sounds heard with each tap. When the problem is complete, four numbers are offered as the player finds the correct answer.
I especially like that one can also tap to count the fruit or birds left in the tree, truly counting to the correct number.
Relaxing music is included that parents will enjoy listening to as well as subtle ambient forest sounds such as birds in the distance. I also enjoy the bunnies that hold up presumably a blanket or basket to catch the falling fruit - cute details that really make this app delightful to look at and spend time with, as these animals move slightly, enough to add a subtle humor that I greatly appreciate.
Although this app may become monotonous to adults over long periods of time, I do not see this as a flaw for babies and toddlers who are new to early math concepts as this app is gentle and sweet with nothing added that could become a distraction.
The app is very nicely realized for being an early math app focusing on easy addition and subtraction as well as teaching about zero - a concept that is not always included in this level of first apps for children.
After four questions are answered, the section being worked on is complete and includes a trophy for children to momentarily enjoy, but it is unclear is the questions become harder as subsequent rounds of this game are played. It may be helpful to parents in the future if one could choose to focus on addition, subtraction or a mixture of questions to be included.
Even with this note, The Math Tree is an app of very high quality for a beginner math app. The sense of style is great, with relaxing art and music that can be enjoyed by all ages.
My son - now five - has math abilities past what is focused on in this app, so it is quite a compliment that my son found it engaging as he, a seasoned app user, may reject an app that he deems to be too young for him.
We have also greatly enjoyed other Bellamon apps and will be reviewing their phonics app, Word Grab Phonics, soon here at GiggleApps. If interested, do check out the other reviews of Bellamon apps here at GiggleApps as well.