Sal had an early interest in money, playing his virtual hamburger or pizza stand. It has been a game with surprising staying power that we now play with a fake coin set. I still wanted to find something that reinforced the mappings of the coins and value calculations so they become second nature. It seemed a bit backward to me, but Sal is solid on calculating the totals once he has gotten the value of the coin down, but he still swapped nickels with quarters.
Enter this game. To be fair, I started this game with a bit of a bias against it. I am not a fan of lots of sounds (although I know this really helps wet the appetite of some kids and it is just a personal preference of mine), and at first it seemed that this only used 2 coin types. Once I saw the coins you play with could be configured – and I saw this app in action with Sal, I really started to fall for it.
There are 4 coin games. The first is a simple sorting game which also helped reinforce careful reading of the questions. The second is a coin calculation where you shake out a random set of change and provide the value. The third game is a comparison game of 2 sets of change and which set of change’s value is greater, and the final is calculating the correct change to be given back. Between being able to configure the different coins used, and the different levels of games, this really broadens out the audience for kids practicing their math skills with coins. Sal enjoyed the feedback from the animals – either making a triumphant sound when it was correct or looking sad if he missed. He pretended he was feeding the animals with each correct answer and switched between the animals to keep them all fed.
There is also a “Learn” section which takes you through each coin type and provides some background on what each coin has on the front and back. This was interesting to both of us as Sal has been getting into symbols and also happens to be in a phase where he’s a huge fan of eagles.
I also learned quite a bit from watching Sal play this. He was stronger at identifying coins when they were flipped on their back. You can easily flip coins over to view them on either side and this was useful for Sal.
This is a well done app overall. I would have liked them to use different terminology as “Shake” is not very intuitive for setting up the next problem – but overall it was a great way for Sal to have fun working with coins, calculating their values, and “feeding the animals”.