Little Digits is a charming app for iPad, a lovely counting and basic math app which is hands-on in a way children will find new and engaging.
This app consists of three main sections: counting, addition and subtraction.
When the counting mode is opened, players will be greeted by a friendly “0” with a lovely face consisting of a blue zebra pattern, eyes, fanged mouth, horns and the negative space of the “0” creating the nose.
Notice that if one touches the screen with a finger, the number changes to number one, and if two fingers make contact with the screen, number two appears on the screen and so forth up to number ten.
Each of these numbers has its own sense of quirky styling including a friendly creature with a face which creates charming anthropomorphic numbers complete with fun and jazzy upbeat music and bright background color choices. The movement of these quirky faces such as the eyes blinking really brings these numbers to life and adds to the overall richness of this experience.
I really enjoy how interactive this application is, and I think this method of teaching on fingers or “little digits ” as this app is aptly titled is a great way to teach counting to young children, as well as getting them to move their fingers in a sequential way that will also work their fine muscles.
When exploring this app for the first time, I thought of my favorite math teacher, who insisted that her students count on their fingers proudly out in the open, in response to having to hide the fact that she counted on her fingers when she was in school as a girl. To this day, I am a proud finger counter, really appreciating the concept of this interesting, intuitive application.
The addition and subtraction sections work much the same. At first, a number is given that children can count up to as they add numbers into the screen. Then they are asked to either add or take away more fingers, being able to count positive or negative until they reach the correct sum.
As much as I love this idea, I do think that some young children many have trouble with the dexterity needed to get their fingers to move the way they want, such as placing solely four fingers on the screen and then lifting two off the page. I do think this app may be a great exercise for some children as well, and two hands can be used to create the finger combinations as well. Adults may want to help their children into correct positions, or demonstrate these sections themselves if they see fit.
This is also a unique app to teach subitizing, as I have long stopped counting my hand of fingers as five as well as other finger groupings - lessons children may learn on their own, but also interesting lessons to teach with this unique application.
I also like that a short video is included of a child playing with the counting section of this app - a nice clip that shows children how this app is used, including the detail that this app is best used with the iPad, specifically being placed on the table instead of holding the device in an upright fashion.
Because this is such a unique, yet common sense approach to counting, this app may be of interest to special education teachers as well, either as an early math app or possibly as a nice finger exercise app as well.
What truly makes this app special is not just the thoughtful method of teaching but the wonderful sense of style, cute yet odd-looking creatures kids will love, simple fun animations, fun and engaging background music, as well as a great use of color that is found throughout.