Who knew monkeys and math go together so well? In Monkey Math School Sunshine, preschoolers can get a grasp of counting, sorting, sequencing and pattern recognition. There are also simple addition and subtraction problems mixed in which helps kids get comfortable with fundamental math operations even before stepping inside a classroom. The game is set in a vibrant beach-themed world and is able to provide an endless assortment of uninterrupted math activities for your budding mathlete.
Loading the app for the first time will take you to the account creation screen wherein you can set up your child's player account. You may create up to three accounts which is great if you have several kids who will want to share the game. After that's done, it is important to visit the "For Grown Ups" settings menu in order to toggle the availability of math activities as well as to tweak the difficulty per player if applicable. There is a feature called "Knack™" which allows the game to adapt, adjusting the difficulty automatically depending on how well your little one is performing. This feature works surprisingly well, regulating the flow of difficult activities to make the game more enjoyable for early learners.
Once your child has learned how to pick his name from the list of three, he's ready to play on his own. Otherwise, you may want to assist throughout the activities. There will be plenty of text to read, not to mention numerical operations and shapes to get familiar with. The problems are presented using small, Comic Sans-like (actually, we wouldn't be surprised if it is Comic Sans) fonts, which may make things a bit tricky for your little one. There is a narrator that guides the player throughout the game but we found the voice to be a bit unclear at times, with odd computer-generated intonations. The sound effects also have a knack of blending in with the narrator, so again, you may want to help early readers get the hang of things.
The activities are presented randomly and are dependent on an individual player's difficulty settings. After the instructions for each have been presented, the player is asked to drag or tap the answer to complete a problem. There are times wherein the player is asked to fill in the blanks for an arithmetic problem or to pick out an object which completes a sequence. There will also be activities that require a child to connect the dots in an applicable numerical sequence --for instance, to help a baby turtle reach the sea. While the pace is relaxed for the most part, there are a few activities which entail quick tapping. For instance, quantity identification games entail popping bubbles that fly across the screen, picking out those that meet the guidelines (such as sets of 2).
Though activity navigation seems limited once you get past the settings screen, there's no need to worry about negative reinforcements. The game is pretty lenient when it comes to handling incorrect answers. Pick the wrong choice and the cute monkey simply shakes his head, providing gentle redirection. Pick the correct answer and your little one gets praised with a happy upside down cheer coming from the monkey mascot. To add more of an incentive to excel, there is a reward system in place similar to receiving stickers or stars in the classroom. After about three or four successfully completed activities, kids are given objects to fill up their very own animated aquarium. On a side note, we loved the fact that there are no ads or pop-ups to worry about in-game.
THUP Games' Monkey Math School Sunshine may not be perfect for very young kids, but it will make for a fun afternoon for those who can already recognize words and basic sentences. The educational value is outstanding, potentially familiarizing kids with numbers and patterns in a day. The creator lists it for kids ages 3 to 6 and it is available for both the Apple App Store and Google Play.