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Over the last couple of months, since we started schooling the children at home, I’ve been looking for ways to make learning fun and exciting for LP and Little Man. They get set school work each day but we’ve been doing extra activities to try and mix things up a bit. Over this time I’ve discovered a great new app – MentalUP – which fits so well into our routine.
MentalUP is an award-winning brain game app for children aged between 4 and 13. It offers brain games with varying difficulty levels to improve cognitive skills and is all about solving problems and thinking in new and creative ways. It’s the sort of thing LP and Little Man had no experience of before we started using the app and it’s been amazing to actually see how their minds work and how they’d automatically think to solve problems.
The app has introduced the children to new problems and new ways of thinking to help them solve everything put in front of them. As well as helping the children to think differently the app also has good amounts of maths and english within it, improving their vocabulary, knowledge and maths skills in the process. It’s helped Little Man to tell the time and read analogue and digital clocks. It’s a really educational app but one that looks and feels so fun that the children don’t even realise they’re learning whilst they use it.
MentalUP gets the children to use key skills like attention, memory and logic all in a completely safe space with no adverts or in-app purchases. It’s such a family friendly app with cute characters, bright colours and a really user-friendly interface. As well as the brain games the app includes general knowledge, teaching the children new things in bitesize information that really sticks with them.
Little Man absolutely loves MentalUP. The app suggests doing ten rounds each day to give your brain a boost and at first we’d do the rounds together. I’d help explain what he needed to do and he’d work through the round, seeing how fast he got get the right results. But soon he got used to the app’s innovative teaching methods and was familiar with the huge variety of mind games in the app and could happily work through them himself. Doing ten rounds takes just twenty minutes making it so easy to fit into any day.
The app has really simple instructions at the start of each round and depending on the game being played there is also writing to read during the game. It’s all in very simple text and has helped Little Man to read more confidently, read with purpose and understand the meanings of everything he reads too. The game does use some American spellings at times like color and gray but this hasn’t been an issue for us.
MentalUP has been just challenging enough for LP and Little Man. It’s always a fine balance between challenging a child and making something too difficult that they lose interest quickly. MentalUP has got the balance just right, keeping children engaged and excited, challenging them to really use their brains to think in different ways whilst competing with themselves to see if they can beat their previous scores or the average user score each time they play.
One thing Little Man loves about MentalUP is the character you play as. You’re able to personalise the character and buy new outfits and accessories using the coins you earn as you work through the games. There’s no money involved, they can’t buy things with real money, it’s purely coins earned within the app which is something I really liked as a parent. There’s literally no risk of bills mounting up with Mental UP!
The premium version of the app costs just £20 a year and has over 120 games as well as reporting systems to help parents monitor the child’s progress, provide skills analysis and highlight strengths and weaknesses so you can easily track children’s cognitive development and compare it with the rest of their age group. There’s also a free version of the app which has just 20 games and no additional reporting or analysis information. Being able to track your child’s progress and have access to so many more games really does make MentalUP’s premium version fantastic value for money.
It’s great to be able to see, at the touch of a button, how well Little Man is doing, what areas he needs to improve on and which ones he’s doing better at. It’s all so user friendly and he’s able to access this information himself and even choose specific areas to focus on too. Usually when you use MentalUP the games are generated at random but you’re able to pick ones to practice too which is great for focusing and improving in one specific area at a time.
The ability to solve problems and think in new creative ways really is as important as literacy and numeracy skills. This is where MentalUP really comes into its own. LP and Little Man, like many children, find it hard to think in new ways. They often lack logic and I’ve already found that Little Man is able to visualise things better since starting to use the app. Plus, every time he improves on a previous score he feels so proud. It’s lovely to see.
You can find out more about MentalUP over on their website and download the app now from Google Play and the iOS App Store. They currently have 30% off a 12 month subscription so why not see how much your children enjoy stretching their brains too?