Count Me In 123 app – Review

Ben and Chloe both received android tablets for their birthdays in July which were a complete lifesaver on our long journey to France.  Both tablets have super effective safeguarding measures and we are really concious of the amount of time they are allowed to use them for.  For the most part I want the time they are using their tablets to be constructive – playing games which promote learning, challenge their thinking and problem solving skills or helping them with their reading etc. Angry Birds, whilst entertaining, of course does none of them above.

Yorkshire Bank’s Count Me In 123 Number Chums app, available on both apple and android devices, has been launched to support parents in helping their children to learn basic numeracy skills before starting primary school and we were asked to give it a try!

New research claims that nearly three-quarters of parents in the UK think their children should be learning basic numeracy skills prior to starting primary school and I can’t say I disagree.  Amy is not yet two years old but is already becoming aware of numbers and I’m keen to encourage this.  Of course I’m not about to sit down with her and ask her to start completing maths worksheets however counting objects with her and number songs are a great starting point.  There’s a lot of pressure on little ones in primary school these days so anything which gives them a little head start without them even realising it is a bonus in my book.

At 4 Chloe has just started Reception and is a keen learner.  (I think she might have the potential to be a bit of a swot in years to come).  She’s already quite confident with numbers to 10 so I expected that the Count Me In 123 app would be a hit with her.

Count Me in 123 is a pre-school programme specifically created by Yorkshire Bank to support you in developing the initial building blocks for mathematical thinking, reasoning and problem solving.  This isn’t just a “learn to count” app.  Maths is all about “building blocks”, you are constantly learning new things and building on what you already know – mathematical reasoning and problem solving are vital skills, not just in the classroom but for life.

Although the app has been developed by Yorkshire Bank the only branding is a pair of small images in the top right corner of the home screen.  You won’t find any advertising or in app purchases.  I’m always very conscious of the risk of in app purchases with little ones who are a bit tap happy and don’t actually know what they’re clicking on so gold star right there Yorkshire Bank.

From the outset the Count Me In 123 app is bright and appealing without being garish and irritating as I think children’s apps often can be.

In the top left corner of the screen you’ll find a section specifically for grown ups – this accessed by answer a simple maths question.  The grown ups section explains the purpose of the app and invites you to follow along on social media as well as giving you the option to turn the sound off.  I love this!

As you can see on the picture of the homepage above, the app is split into three sections each with its own friendly looking character.
 
Shape Spotter
The main focus of this game is to match shapes – the question is written on the screen, voiced by rabbit and also a clue is given in rabbit’s thought bubble.  Even if you can’t read the words and have the sound turned off you’d still be able to play this game just by looking at the pictures.  Rabbit shows you the shape she is thinking of and then asks you to find a matching shape.  What I particularly liked about this game is that you’re not looking for an identical image – just a matching shape.  So whilst Rabbit might have a picture of a purple triangle in her thought bubble, you are looking for a triangular shaped sandwich.  This puts the focus heavily on the shape itself and encourages children to notice shapes in their own environment.  It also helps them to understand that a square is a square, no matter what size, colour or position it is in.
At first Chloe wasn’t so keen on this game, claiming “It’s too hard” however she quickly realised what she was meant to be doing and quite enjoyed it.  If you make a mistake, Rabbit gives you an “Ooops try again” and you get another chance.  It’s worth noting that if you decide to play the same game again immediately after the questions will be different – not just the same shapes in the same older.  Another big plus point there.
 
Let’s Count 
This was by far Chloe’s favourite game which she went back to time and time again.  The game starts with Monkey counting to ten.  Unprompted, Chloe joined in with the counting saying each other the numbers out loud.  The Let’s Count game focuses on 1-1 correspondence (which is basically being able to count objects).  The objects appear in the tree (apples, birds – you get the picture) and Monkey asks you to count how many there are before offering a multiple choice answer of consecutive numbers (eg if there are three apples it might give you the numbers 2, 3, 4 to choose from).  After a couple of go’s things are ramped  up a bit and you get an extra number in the answer to challenge you.  One of the things I liked most about this was that Chloe is able to touch the pictures whilst she counts them (this is an important part of developing 1-1 correspondence) without it upsetting her game.  If you go straight back into the same game (which Chloe did several times) you get the same pictures (birds, bees etc) but a different number of them.
Big & Small 
This game focuses on spatial awareness.  Can you help Croc to find the bigger carrot?  This game does need you to either have someone to read the question or to have the sound on or you won’t know whether to go big or small.   The game starts of simply offering two pieces of fruit or veg and asks you to find the bigger / smaller of the two.  As it moves on additional challenge is added by showing three pieces of fruit or veg.  I think this was probably the game we liked least – it seemed to be the most obvious, and didn’t really offer up as much challenge as the other two.  It would have been great if it added in the additional challenge of perhaps ordering the three pieces from smallest to largest.
All in all we thought the app was fabulous – at 6 Ben is pretty much too old for it and whilst he liked having a little look at it with me I doubt it is an app he will go to through choice on his own.  Chloe on the other hand really enjoyed it and I know she will go back to it in the future, particularly the Let’s Count section.  It will be interesting to see how Amy gets on with the app in another 6-12 months.
Of course we don’t want our little people absorbed with screens all day so I’m really thrilled that Yorkshire Bank have gone for a really rounded approach with this one and have created some lovely activity sheets to go along with the app.  Featuring each of the Number Chums the sheets focus on number recognition and formation, recognising shapes and comparing sizes.  Chloe, who as I have mentioned has the potential to be a bit of a swot, jumped straight in with the sheets and absolutely loved them.  They were pitched at just the right level so as to offer her a little bit of a challenge but also to mean she could do them without my help.  I loved that the purpose of the sheets is clearly explained with a note to parents as well.  The worksheets make a great addition to the Count Me in 123 programme.

Overall, as a parent and a primary school teacher, I’m really impressed with this offering from Yorkshire Bank – it has been really well thought out and delivered and I hope they continue to update it and too it as time goes by, perhaps extending it into options for school age children as well.

*Thanks to Yorkshire Bank for providing us with a new tablet to try out the app on.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

42 Comments

  1. Pippa Ainsworth
    October 7, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    Oh, this looks really handy. I think LM might like it. I'll be downloading. Thanks for the excellent review.

  2. October 13, 2015 / 7:09 am

    This looks brill, all the bright colours on the screen would really appeal to my youngest! #triedtested

  3. October 13, 2015 / 7:56 am

    This looks really good. I've avoided giving Lily a tablet as much as possible, but now wonder if I've held her back a bit because she isn't as tech-savvy as some of her peers. Might give this a go and see how she gets on. #TriedTested

    • October 13, 2015 / 1:09 pm

      I don't think it holds them back, I'm glad we've avoided it with them until now. There's plenty of time to catch up 🙂 x

  4. October 13, 2015 / 8:06 am

    A great way to learn, if only we could have done this years ago! #TriedTested

  5. October 13, 2015 / 8:33 am

    This looks like a great range of maths activities. I like the layout of the screen, so simple, colourful and appealing too 🙂

    #triedtested

  6. October 13, 2015 / 8:42 am

    Looks great – my son loves using the ipad so looks like something to look out for #triedtested

  7. October 13, 2015 / 8:54 am

    This is great. I love sneaky apps that are great fun but are teaching them as well. How do you get hold of the writing sheets? #triedtested

    • October 13, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      They're on the YB website linked in the post x

  8. October 13, 2015 / 8:58 am

    We've managed to avoid getting BB a tablet or screen yet but this does look great – will bear it in mind! #TriedTested

  9. October 13, 2015 / 10:21 am

    I love a fun and educational app, it is great when kids actually enjoy learning, or when you can trick them into learning things when they think they're just having fun!

    #TriedTested

  10. October 13, 2015 / 10:26 am

    What a fun way to learn. I wish apps were around when my 2 were little. I think it would have definitely have helped them #Triedtested x

  11. October 13, 2015 / 10:33 am

    Oh that looks like a great App – will check it out #TriedTested

  12. gina caro
    October 13, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    That looks like a great app. It would be perfect for my 5 year old who has just started school.

  13. becca farrelly
    October 13, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    This app looks great! we let our 2yr old use an ipad for 30mins a day as she has learnt her numbers 1-20, full alphabet and shapes just by watching selected rhymes and playing on selected apps. I haven't seen this one but will be definitely looking into it! Thanks 🙂

    #TriedTested

  14. Sara Murray
    October 13, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    Oh, I like the look of this. I'm always on the look out for fun, educational apps for the my younger two and I think that my little girl would love this! #triedtested

  15. Liss
    October 13, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    I like the look of this. Ill download it for my little one to try

  16. Hannah
    October 13, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Looks good fun 🙂 #triedtested

  17. October 13, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    looks like a good app for pre-schoolers and beyond! #triedtested

  18. Kizzy, Izzy and Baby
    October 13, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    That looks great, I like the idea of the worksheets too!

  19. October 13, 2015 / 6:55 pm

    What a great sounding app! It sounds perfect for little one's x

  20. October 13, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    What a great idea creating activity sheets too! Looks like a great app! #triedtested

  21. Emily FamilyFourFun
    October 13, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Looks bright, colourful and lots of fun – bet mine would LOVE it!

  22. October 13, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Looks a good educational app. You're right. My boys just want to play Angry Birds, Minecraft etc

  23. October 13, 2015 / 7:50 pm

    This looks like a great app. My boy is still a bit young to play stuff like this but once he's old enough I will be downloading :).xx #TriedTested

  24. October 13, 2015 / 8:28 pm

    Ooooo this is interesting! I haven't started using apps yet but this looks like a good one. #triedtested

  25. October 13, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    Sounds like a great app for helping with numeracy skills. My two both love numbers and this app sounds like it would be perfect for helping encourage that. #TriedTested

  26. October 13, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    This looks really interesting. My daughter is probably too young for it at the moment I think, but I do prefer educational apps, rather than the 'nonesense' type ones, as I call them! x
    #triedtested

  27. katefever
    October 14, 2015 / 8:47 am

    This does look like a great app – I love the fact there is a question restricted grown up section.

  28. October 14, 2015 / 9:23 am

    Love apps like these, great for kids to learn whilst playing 🙂
    Thanks for sharing x #TriedTested

  29. October 14, 2015 / 10:31 am

    Sold! Currently downloading the app as I type. This should keep him occupied in a useful way for the afternoon. Thank you for sharing. Now I need to get my hands on those activity sheets now 🙂

  30. Tracey Grannum
    October 14, 2015 / 11:38 am

    I think this constructive screen time can be really beneficial, and this looks like a really smart and sensible app. I couldn't agree more about the need to encourage children to understand basic numeracy and literacy before school, and doing it in a fun way is the only way they're going to continue to engage. I also like that it's gone offline with some traditional pen/paper activities. Loving this!
    #TriedTested

  31. October 16, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    This sounds brilliant, I am downloading it now as I type! Thank you for bringing this to my attention 🙂 and for hosting #TriedTested x

  32. Odd Socks and Lollipops
    October 18, 2015 / 11:11 am

    This looks great, I love educational and fun apps. I will have to get this for Boo when she is a bit older.

  33. Dave H
    October 19, 2015 / 8:48 am

    Looks good – we're not at that stage with Baby L yet, but I reckon I could learn a few things from that app 🙂

  34. October 20, 2015 / 12:24 am

    This sounds great!! I think my 5 year old daughter will love to play with this app. It is always better if these games are educational! Thanks for hosting #TriedandTested

  35. October 24, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this. It looks really great fun for the kids. My Ethan is glue to screens!. lol! I have pinned this. Hope that's okay with you. 🙂

    • October 24, 2015 / 6:27 pm

      Of course, pin away! x

  36. Victoria MyLittleLBlog
    October 24, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    looks interesting, my nephews are big fans of games and educational activities thats definitely something to note

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