Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014
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The Counting Kingdom

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Magical math game teaches addition, boosts problem-solving skills

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Kids solve challenging math problems and build critical-thinking skills as levels progress in difficulty.

Cons: Navigation can be a bit tricky to figure out.

Bottom Line: With engaging gameplay and solid math content, it’s an excellent way for kids to learn and use addition and problem-solving strategies.

Once kids have a basic understanding of addition, use The Counting Kingdom for practice or enrichment. The game is best suited for individual use, so have kids try to complete as many levels as possible in a given amount of time -- about 20 minutes per session is ideal. Keep in mind that the app does not include a teacher dashboard, point system, or built-in program to track progress, so it's important to come together as a class and discuss students' experiences playing the game. Be sure to talk about the addition strategies kids used, as well as the problem-solving strategies that helped them complete the levels.

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The Counting Kingdom is a math game that helps kids hone addition skills. The game begins with a brief animated story about monsters invading the castle towers. To protect the castles, kids have to link numbered monsters together to produce sums, which are displayed on pages from a spell book. If they get the sums correct, magic spells are cast and the monsters are destroyed. However, with each passing try, any remaining monsters get closer to the castle tower. As the game progresses, the sums get more challenging, with more linked monsters needed in order to complete the levels. To make the game even more interesting, kids can use special potions, combine spells to make larger sums, and get new spells if they are unable to link monsters effectively.

The Counting Kingdom successfully combines learning with gameplay. With 30 levels of gameplay within five areas of the magical kingdom, kids have plenty of opportunities to build foundational addition skills. They can also boost problem-solving skills by figuring out the best way to create sums when given multiple possibilities. Kids get some basic feedback for incorrect monster links (like "The sum is too large”). Keep in mind that concepts are not directly taught, so the game is best for targeted practice.

One of the game’s areas for improvement is its hint and feedback system. Players can only access help once they've made multiple mistakes in a row. It would be great to see some accessible hints at an earlier stage.  

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The fun, colorful graphics and engaging storyline will hook kids. Even the monsters are cute.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Levels become increasingly difficult as kids play: There’s an excellent progression from basic to advanced skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Gameplay is mostly intuitive, but it's frustrating that tapping the menu icon starts the entire game over.

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