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Elmo Loves 123s
Pros: Each number gets presented in a variety of ways, reinforcing learning.
Cons: Kids can get caught in a gameplay loop if they don't switch activities on their own.
Bottom Line: Elmo Loves 123s takes kids on a learning romp from writing numbers to addition and subtraction.
Elmo Loves 123s can be an engaging way to help preschoolers learn their numbers and basic addition and subtraction. The progress report is a nice bonus, but kids have to complete the activity for it to be recorded; many won't be logged due to attention spans shifting gears in the midst of an activity. Teachers may need to offer frequent reminders to complete activities. Since kids are not creating accounts, the progress report is not labeled with a kid's name, and if multiple kids share a device, the data will be combined.
Teachers may also want to suggest certain activities for students -- it's very easy to get caught up in the many activities and jump among games, puzzles, and videos without actually completing any of them.
Sesame Street knows how to get preschool learning right. Elmo and Abby share their love of numbers, offering kids praise and encouragement as they play games. Elmo has them choose a number from 1 to 20 on a colorful screen. Kids then trace the chosen number before viewing a classic Sesame Street video clip incorporating the number.
There are three videos and three activities involving each number: a puzzle, a search-and-find game wherein kids look for the number hidden around Sesame Street, and a count-and-fill-the-bucket game. Kids also can choose from three coloring pages for each number. Abby, who's hanging out on the front page, introduces them to addition and subtraction by having them add and take away monsters in different scenes.
The variety of offerings for each number will keep kids interested. They have to take a bit of initiative to change numbers or change activities. Otherwise, play repeats on a loop with the same activities rotating within that category. The videos are superb. The search game wherein kids look for the numeral is not very challenging but does get kids familiar with the number.
Children using this app may require supervision, or else they may just skip from activity to activity and number to number without actually completing anything, which will lessen the excellent learning potential of the app. Otherwise, this is a great way to introduce kids to basic number concepts.