Smartick – The Online Learning App for Maths

Smartick is an online Maths learning programme and unlike other apps, it uses artificial intelligence to adapt to each child’s style of learning.  With only a 15 minute daily session allowed, it means that children won’t get bored, fed up, and encourages them to perform their daily questions in order to earn stars which they can spend at the end of each lesson on things such avatars and items for their online house.

Each day starts with a welcome and series of faces to see how the child is feeling along with the child’s own avatar that they can customise through their earning of stars.

It then goes into a series of questions which start off easing the child into a topic, breaking it down simply with pictorial questions if needed, then moving onto the same thing but in a different way.  If a key pad is required, it will pop up in the corner of the screen, otherwise things can be dragged across the touch screen.

You are expected to let your child get on with this on their own which I did 100% of the time although I did watch over their shoulder a few times in order to write this review.  The programme works intuitively and won’t move your child onto harder problems the next time if they struggled to grasp something this time.  At the end of each session the child also gets a chance to retry the questions that they get wrong along with receiving extra stars of course!
The end result of each session is that the child receives a number of stars.  This acts as an incentive for them as they get to finish the session and try to get things correct otherwise they won’t have stars to spend at the end. They can then use these to buy things to decorate their room, by virtual pets, presents for other players and clothes for their avatar.
What I particularly like about this programme is that I can log on to my online account and see how each of my children are getting on.  But even better than that is that I receive an email everyday either reminding me that my child hasn’t yet done their daily session “This message is to inform you that Blake hasn’t completed today’s session yet.”  Also immediately after every session completed an email comes in to let me know the kind of questions they have been working on along with their scores.  I find this incredibly useful and interesting and it saves me having to log in and check for myself.
Seeing this also encourages me to get them to use the app as I can see the benefits of it and see that they are learning as they play, although it’s not strictly a game, they do actually enjoy answering the questions and have more fun spending their stars earnt at the end.
Smartick has been a fun learning tool that has had a lot of use between my children and I encourage them to complete their daily questions as often as possible.  They don’t find it boring and actually enjoy using it, I think due to the short sessions and the fun way the tasks are presented. Smartick allows your child to move ahead faster than in school because it does not follow the national curriculum nor the Key Stage system so I’ll be interested to see how my children improve at school over the year, so far all is good and if they are happy to do Smartick then I’m more than happy to let them!
All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received access to the product in order to write an honest review. 

Numberbundle Maths Activity Box – Review

Numberbundle are a new range of activity subscription boxes aimed at ages 3-7 years and support the Early Years foundation stage and National Curriculum.  The boxes are themed each month and we received the ‘Number’ themed box aimed at reception age children for 5yr old Mister B to try out.

WP_20160219_15_12_49_ProEach box contains activities involving:

  • Cookery
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Active games
  • Solo puzzles
  • Cross stitch
  • Outdoor activities
  • Science
  • Narrative

Each activity is clearly set out in it’s own individual leaflet, making it easy to follow and clear to see what extra things you may need such as colouring pencils, scissors etc.  All extra’s are just basic items you would have at home anyway.

Mister B was keen to start with an activity that he saw used an egg box, one of his favourite junk modeling items so he eagerly started cutting out some numbers for his ‘Random Number Shake’ and numbering inside the sections of the egg box.

numberbundle 2He then stuck the numbers into the lid of the box and a couple of spare one’s on top.  We then put a button inside which he loved shaking about to see what number it landed on.  There are many options for games and activities with this from getting the child to write down the number they land on, write the correct number of dots corresponding to the number or taking turns to see who can land on all the numbers first.

numberbundle 3We then moved onto making an abacus using the box that all the bits came in and some included string and beads.  Mister B absolutely loved sitting threading the beads on each piece of string and sat in deep concentration until he had finished and I attached the ends to each side of the box.

numberbundle 1I think this was a brilliant activity and we have spent much time over the last week playing with the finished abacus.  Mister B loves working out little sums for me and has been adding and taking away from ten quite confidently!  Even big sister Miss M has been joining in.

numberbundle 4We’ve also been doing some science experiments turning dirty old coins into shiny new looking ones and laying them in sequences.  Another of Mister B’s favourites was homemade play doh which he used to make the correct number of spots on ladybirds.  A game we had lots of giggles in is ‘Don’t roll as six’ as when you do, you have to do 10 seconds of exercise such as running on the spot or star jumps.  Mister B loved this and now wants to play it all the time!

As you can see we’ve had non stop activities and fun from this subscription box and there are still more activities on top of what I have mentioned. I think the value in the boxes is up to you to make the most of them with your child, but if you do there really is hours of things to do and you can play certain things again and again.

I think what’s most important here is that the child is having everyday fun, but learning at the same time without really realising it.  Mister B just thought it was a box of fun things to do when he got home from school each night and asked to try a different thing each day.

If you’d like to try one of these Numberbundle boxes, which will of course be appropriate to your childs age, then I am able to offer one of my readers a chance to win a box by simply filling in the Gleam form below:


All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Shapes Don’t Bug Me Geometry Set – Review

Shapes Don’t Bug Me from Learning Resources is a fabulous little educational activity set aimed at children aged 5-9 although both my children ages 3 and 6 have loved playing with this and had lots of fun learning about shapes and how they fit together.

shapes don't bug me 1The set comprises of 20 double sided activity cards ranging in difficulty from 1 up to 20.  There are also 136 translucent plastic shapes included in 14 different variants including 5 different triangles, 2 different squares, hexagon, trapezoid, rhombus, circle, half circle and quarter circle.  They also come in different colours helping to distinguish between the different shapes.

shapes don't bug me 2My two children were immediately eager to have a go and grabbed an activity card and got stuck in building the pictures with the shapes.  I thought this was brilliant for Mister B, as he loved the easier bug pictures and had such a great sense of achievement when he had finished one.  It was also a fun way for him to learn new shapes like a rhombus and trapezium.  I was also trying to teach him a semi circle and it was great to do this with two halves and put them together to build a circle.

shapes don't bug me 3Although initial impressions may seem like this is quite easy, Miss M tackled some of the harder activity cards and they certainly challenged her.  It was great to see her tackling some of the more mathematical ones, using smaller triangles to make larger triangles and again helping her get to grips with the make up of a circle, talking about halves, quarters and how many of each are needed to make a circle.

shapes don't bug me 4The trickiest cards contained just one large outline of a shape such as a triangle or a rhombus and you had to fill the inside completely with smaller shapes to make the larger one.  Miss M had some really good attempts but they weren’t quite sitting accurately on the lines so I set about trying them with her.  I have to say it took me a few attempts to fill them so there is definitely plenty of challenge in this set.

shapes don't bug me 5We’ve really enjoyed trying out the Shapes Don’t Bug Me geometry set, it is something that a good age range of children will enjoy and learn from and is bright, colourful and attracts children to sit and play.  It’s also trickier than it looks so has plenty of learning potential and I think it’s brilliant that the activity cards are numbered in difficulty levels.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the set in order to write the review.

Animal Safari by Orchard Toys – Review

Animal Safari is a fun, tactical board game from Orchard Toys suitable for ages 5+.  With Miss M being a huge fan of games and loving her Orchard Toy collection I knew this was sure to be a hit and I was also keen to try a game with a higher starting age to give Miss M the challenges she needs and thrives on.


The game is suitable for 2-4 players who use a stand up jeep playing piece to move from the camp in the centre of the board, around the board hoping to collect some animals before returning to camp.  There are various viewing points across the Animal Safari board that if you land on you can pick up an animal card.

To move around the board are two dice and this is where the game gets interesting.  In place are the number six on each, is a picture of binoculars, and rolling one of these allows you to take an animal card of your choice from another player.  You can also tactically use the amount rolled on the dice to determine where you land on the board by either moving the amount on just one of the dice or the total of both.  By having to total up the two dice also brings in basic mathematical skills which is perfect for young players.  Miss M who is 5 is just learning basic addition in her first year of school and I felt this really benefitted her in practicing without realising it.

I was surprised by the variety of different animal cards – to include monkeys, parrots, flamingos, lions, tigers, zebras, meerkats, giraffes to name just a few.  They are all brightly coloured and fun pictures to look at which helped add value to the game.  Miss M loved looking at them and picking her favourites when she had the opportunity to take some from my pile.

Animal Safari retails at £11.75 which we think is good value for such a durable lasting game that is fun, enjoyed by all and contains hidden educational aspects.

Please watch our short review video of the game in action:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.