Honestly, I don’t remember how I learned multiplication when I was young. But observing how my five-year-old learned multiplication, I can testify that skip counting and mental addition are two important skills that assisted him throughout the process.
Logically, mental addition is required to be able to perform arbitrary skip counting. But when we’re trying to teach skip counting by specific intervals, such as by two or by ten, this doesn’t apply. Turns out, many younger kids can learn how to skip count by two or by ten even though they’re not fluent with the addition operation itself.
Colto’s brand new app, Star Gurus, proves this. It uses the classic connect-the-numbered-dots gameplay to teach skip counting, and allows parents to customize the gameplay by showing only odd or even numbers or by showing only multiples of ten. I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of this approach.
Connect the Stars to Reveal 30 Different Constellations
By default, the game will display up to 20 star-shaped dots, each numbered in a sequence from 1 to 20. The number of stars shown vary depending on the constellation’s complexity, with the simplest constellation containing 3 stars while the most complex containing 20. You can either trace a line from one number to the next or tap the numbers in sequence. Depending on how old your kids are, they may benefit from practicing to trace the lines.
Once you have connected all the dots in the correct sequence, the game will reveal the picture in the constellation. There are 30 different constellations that you can play in this initial version of the game. They are quite varied, and may depict uncommon things such as dodo bird, centaur, and brontosaurus.
As the dots are connected to reveal the picture, you will hear a narrator pronouncing the connected numbers one at a time. Once it has reached the final dot, the narrator will say the name of the object depicted in the constellation. You can then tap on the next button to play with the next constellation.
Parents Need to Know
Star Gurus can be played in 10 different languages, including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Korean. This allows kids ages 3+ to start learning how to count in several languages. Based on my experience with my three-year-old, kids love to learn all kinds of languages. He loves the fact that Star Guru supports Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese — three languages that fascinate him.
Star Gurus works great without an Internet connection. It has no ads, in-app purchases, nor links to social network. But keep in mind that it requires iOS 7 or newer.
Things I Like
My favorite part of this game is the ability to customize the numbers shown on the dot-to-dot puzzles. By default, it will show numbers in sequence from 1 to 20. But, you can change it to display only numbers from 1 to 10, or from 10 to 20.
Things start to get interesting when you change it to display odd or even numbers only. If you do this, you are practically encouraging your kids to learn skip counting by two. You might want to start with either odd or even numbers for a longer period of time first, before switching to the other. It helps your kids to practice one of the two first.
When you change the puzzle settings to display only multiples of ten, you will realize what a great learning tool this game is. It will churn out one constellation after another to facilitate kids in practicing their skip counting. I think it’s going to be a lot more fun when the developer adds more constellations into the mix.
With a simple twist, I believe the game can be more appealing to older kids. By adding the ability for parents to specify any number from 3-9 to be used as the sequence interval, Star Gurus can have a longer lifetime in kids’ learning journey. I also think the game can even be extended to challenge kids to connect the dots backwards too.
Star Gurus is a fun little game for kids ages 3+ who love to play connect-the-dots game. Little do they know, they will learn how to count from 1 to 20 along the way. When they’re ready, you can even step it up to let them learn about odd and even numbers, and how to do simple skip counting.
App was suggested to us.
Founded by a Mum/Teacher, Colto is a creative studio developing apps for preschoolers that make them smile while they learn. Their games are designed based on the American Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence curriculum which include skills such as alphabet phonics, the meaning and pronunciation of new words and phrases, numbers and sequencing.
You should also check out two other apps that they have released earlier:
ABC Gurus — By turning letters into silly characters, the app aims to teach alphabet sounds and letters to kids ages 2+. It’s designed based on incidental learning which puts an emphasis on learning through play. Through its simple and fun coloring and decorating activities, kids can also learn how words can be associated with each letter of the alphabet.