Old School, meet New School

Montessorium is the force behind some amazingly beautiful and fun iPhone/iPad apps for kids. Intro to Letters brings the alphabet to your child’s fingertips. Based on the Montessori activity known as Sand Paper Letters, these activities utilize sight, sound and touch to help your child learn the letters, while also learning the correct method of creating them.

Can I just say how impressed I am by the overall design of these apps? They are gorgeous. Montessorium.com

16 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Glad you like them, Tina!

    More on the way…

  2. Huh a little offtopic but do u know the font on the iPad picture. I’m talking about “e”. :?

  3. What beautiful looking apps! So hard to find apps that are visually appealing as well as educational. Look forward to trying these, and also whatever this team create in the future!

  4. So cool. Kids seem to have a thing for iPads (large, colourful touchscreen will probably charm anyone, though) and alphabets. This is such a great app…only wish I had found it a week or two earlier!

    I really want to check out the Intro to Math app too…it looks just as well-designed and potentially really fun for kids.

  5. Beautiful, but it needs to come in other languages, or at least offer the option of overriding the sounds with your own pronunciations!

  6. My two and half year old LOVES both the numbers and the letters apps. I’m amazed at how easily he has picked up the idea of letter sounds as well as names.

    The only feature that doesn’t work so well (for us at least) is the ability to record yourself speaking the letter names. My little magpie likes to pound the record button over and over again which makes it difficult to actually make a recording. Maybe the record and stop buttons could be more modal? I’m thinking that once the record button is pressed the app would record continuously until the stop button is pressed, rather than resetting the recording each time the record button is hit.

    I’m very excited to hear that there’s more apps coming from y’all!

  7. My two and half year old LOVES both the numbers and the letters apps. I’m amazed at how easily he has picked up the idea of letter sounds as well as names.

    (I’m now going to hijack your site to leave some comments for the developers cause I see they are here…)

    The only feature that doesn’t work so well (for us at least) is the ability to record yourself speaking the letter names. My little magpie likes to pound the record button over and over again which makes it difficult to actually make a recording. Maybe the record and stop buttons could be more modal? I’m thinking that once the record button is pressed the app would record continuously until the stop button is pressed, rather than resetting the recording each time the record button is hit.

    I’m very excited to hear that there’s more apps coming from y’all!

  8. Thanks everyone for the great comments. We’re excited that there are more people (like us) who think an app for kids can be clean and focused, without the “whizbang”.

    @masla – The font is Avenir. One of my favorites.

    @hazel – We’re exploring other languages, as well as a re-record option. German and Spanish are leading contenders.

    @brian smith – The recording function is was definitely tricky to design for youngsters, and we opted to keep each button pure in it’s function. I’ll look into disabling the recording button while record is on. That could work.

    @swissmiss – Thanks for letting me field some responses here. I’ll go back to being a good guest now, and fade back to where I came from. :)

    Cheers, everyone.

  9. I love it as well!
    However I’m wondering about the design of apps for young kids, because this design looks like an “adult” design. I know that it is parents that bought apps , but how kids react to this kind of apps without “whizbang” ?
    I know kids can have very good taste (I have two daughters, 4 and 7) but they tend to love “whizbang” (at least a little bit), bright colors as well as some funny things, so I would love to know how kids react to this kind of design that is more “clean and focused”.

    Disclaimer: I’m also designing educational apps for ipad (but with more “whizbang” ;-)).

  10. I love it as well!
    However I’m wondering about the design of apps for young kids, because this design looks like an “adult” design. I know that it is parents that bought apps , but how kids react to this kind of apps without “whizbang” ?
    I know kids can have very good taste (I have two daughters, 4 and 7) but they tend to love “whizbang” (at least a little bit), bright colors as well as some funny things, so I would love to know how kids react to this kind of design that is more “clean and focused”.

    Disclaimer: I’m also designing educational apps for ipad (but with more “whizbang” ;-)). my Goal is not to spam this post but really to talk about the kids apps’ design

  11. I just fell for both Letter and Maths because I am a big fan of Montessori, and I must say that the design is wonderful.

    But I agree a bit with Pierre, unfortunately my children ask less for these apps than other that are a bit more playful.
    It is good in a way because it pushes me to stay with them and accompany them to play, so that they go a bit further. And I think children must be in contact with nice design as early as possible !!!

    So I think we need both !
    Serious and clean apps, that are tools for parents, and more adapted to over 5 years, and more fun apps, like Numberland or 3 little pigs, that they can play with and learn at the same time. And the designs are still very nice !

  12. Yes, I agree kids must be in contact with nice design as early as possible (and I imagine that your place is full of nicely designed things), but like you my 4 years old daughter doesn’t come back to Intro to Maths.I’ve got tons of Montessori Materials as well, and it is the same ,they don’t play with it often. Like you, I must play with them (and that’s ok I love playing with my kids!) . But from my point of view, it is a design problem because “end users” (kids) don’t love it as they love other toys – they don’t consider it as a toy most of the time.
    I think Montessori material is really fantastic from an education point of view, but somebody should just revisit the look it has (really everything is wood like with the same color) to make them more like toys.

    Anyway, If you are a big fan of Montessori , you can also try my game “Montessori Crosswords” on the iPad and iPhone which is based on the activity where kids should write the word of a picture using the movable alphabet (it is not as perfect as the Montessorium apps but there are more “wizbangs”! and lots of words)

  13. Here we are ! You wanted to “push” your own app finally…
    Sorry Pierre, but personnaly, I WAY prefer Tam & Tao in Numberland in terms of (what do you call it ?) AND designs (which is actually the topic of this great blog right ???).
    My children have fun, and I enjoy too !!!

  14. I agree with Bella. I have a three and a five year old and I have all four Montessori apps on my iPad and they find that Tam and Tao in Numberland is the most “gamy” one, with the three others they feel as if they are still at school they told me ;-)
    But since Design is the purpose of this blog, I looked up Jean Jean who is the graphic designer of Numberland and I didn’t find anything on the internet, does anybody know anything about them?

  15. An inteillnget answer – no BS – which makes a pleasant change

Leave a Comment