Counting apps for the iPad are a dime a dozen, so developers must show creativity if they want theirs to stand out. 123 Trains manages to succeed at standing out by combining counting with one of children’s favorite things – trains. Designed for both play and learning, it is an app that will delight toddlers and preschoolers as they drag trains and other vehicles on and off the track.
The 123 Trains app is not loaded with high-tech features and complicated functions, making it ideal for its younger audience. The bright colors, cartoonish graphics and train sounds will get children interested in the app. Then they will quickly learn how to drag trains on and off the tracks, changing their order or letting the cars interact with other elements of the digital environment. Simple aspects of the app, such as being able to dunk the train cars in the water in the background with a satisfying splash are what make it an app that will entertain a three or four-year-old for an extended period of time.
For children who do not like trains or for those who get bored quickly, the app offers two other settings for children to enjoy. They can create spaceships on a track of stars in outer space or drag submarines onto a fish skeleton track under the sea. In each setting, the app functions in the same way, but the interactive elements and settings are different enough that children will think they are playing an entirely new game.
While 123 Trains is fun for children to play with, if they are going to spend time on the iPad, you also want them to learn. Children can practice their counting skills in multiple ways with the app. When the trains are on the track, a press of a button has the app count out the trains, clearly saying and displaying the numbers in order. By hearing the number as it is counted, seeing the number and also seeing a group of trains to represent the number, children will begin to develop a firm understanding of their numbers from 1 to 10.
In fact, the main downfall of the 123 Trains app is that it only allows children to learn their numbers from 1 to 10. While a train of 20 cars would fill the track, children who have already mastered counting from 1 to 10 would benefit from being able to count higher or in multiples of 2, 5 or 10. However, because the app is fun to play with, even children who already know how to count from 1 to 10 will enjoy playing with the trains, spaceships and submarines.
Children who already know how to count from 1 to 10 may find other creative ways to learn math with the app. For example, by dragging the trains into the middle of the track, they can learn basic addition and subtraction. Spur this by asking your child questions such as, “If you have five trains on the track and take two away, how many trains are left on the track?” or “there are two trains on the track. How many trains will be on the track if you add two more?”
Whether your child enjoys playing with the trains for which the app is named or moving around space ships or submarines, the app will provide entertainment and fun for your child. While it is designed to help children learn to recognize their numbers and count from 1 to 10, 123 Trains has enough features that children will feel more like they are playing than learning.
|Good Point||When children are confused or not sure what to do next, a magic hand helps get them back on track.|
|Bad Point||Children can only count to 10.|
|Comment & Tip||Encourage children to count the trains on their own, rather than having the app do all the work.|
|App Name||123 Trains||Developer||Byungho Lee ©New Breed Studio|
|Price||1.99$||Latest Update||December 13, 2012|
|Size||16.7 MB||OS||iOS 5.0|
All images from 123 Trains