In DragonBox Numbers, kids learn about numbers by playing with them. Each digit is a rectangular animated character (think Cuisenaire math-manipulative rods) that is proportional to every other number. The number announces its name when it arrives in a scene. The number characters can be sliced with your finger to divide them into smaller numbers. You can also drag one number on top of another to combine numbers (addition) and create new bigger numbers.
How to Play
DragonBox Numbers offers three ways to play with the digit-characters. In the puzzles section, kids manipulate the numbers -- adding them and subtracting them -- to create the numbers needed to fill in a numbered template -- sort of a mix between dot-to-dots and paint-by-numbers artwork. In an environment called the “Ladder,” the player combines the number characters in ways to reach a star on a vertical number line. There is also an open-ended sandbox mode where kids can compare numbers and generally have fun with the squirming, bubbly characters.
The main section of the app is the puzzles section. In each puzzle, kids see entry tubes for the number at the top right. You invite the numbers to come and play with you by tapping on the tube. In each puzzle, there are only a few numbers available, so players with have to combine or swipe through the numbers (to separate them into smaller numbers) to make the ones they need.
The puzzles start off easy, with a visual outline of the number character's size and color. As the puzzles get harder, kids will no longer see the outline of the character's shape and size, rather they simply see dots with either a numeral or a color. Players will need to form the correct number and then drag it to its designated spot. The puzzle then fills in that part to create a geometric drawing.
Finishing puzzles earns the player in-game currency. They use this currency to unlock the other puzzles, which are sorted into categories based on the subject of the art you want to create. Some of these categories include: animals, faces, fish, aliens, ninjas, princesses, landscapes, and more.
DragonBox Numbers introduces kids to numbers in a fun way, and makes learning number sense intuitive. By playing games where they manipulate numbers to solve a puzzle, players come to understand the relationship between numbers, what it means to add and subtract, and how the decimal system works. Any number over ten is presented as 10 plus other digits; so if you want to make 22, it shows up as the two 10-characters plus the 2-character.
Early on in their math learning, many children simply memorize numbers. They don’t necessarily make the connection between the name of the number and what it actually represents. This app creates learning environments where, by playing with the numbers, kids discover that a number stands for a quantity or amount. They learn to draw the numbers by periodically tracing an onscreen outline of the number.
Each number character wiggles, giggles, and bounces. Better yet, when you combine two numbers, one appears to eat the other. This creates a hilarious animation that results in a new, bigger number being created. During this animation, players hear the math, such as "one plus two equals 3." The whole vibe of DragonBox Numbers is to have fun with numbers while learning. It succeeds brilliantly.
DragonBox Numbers is one of the best math apps for young children. It is a perfect way to interest kids in math. I recommend putting this app in every child’s app library. While DragonBox Numbers costs $7.99, it has so much content that it is worth this premium price. Parents, if we want developers to continue to create this type of top-notch educational content, we need to pay them enough money so that they can survive. Gone are the days of paying $.99 for a quality app, because those companies didn't make enough money to survive.
This DragonBox Numbers app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.