In a marketplace crowded with growing numbers of educational DVDs for young children, Young Minds – Numbers and Counting has become my favourite counting DVD ever. My children don’t necessarily agree with me – they prefer flashier, faster videos – but the educational value from this disc, the ease of use, and the incredible variety of learning applications this simple DVD can be used in have won me over.
Directed by Jason Gibson of the extensive Math Tutor DVD Series, Gibson takes charge behind the scenes but spends no face time in front of the camera as in his other straight-forward math instruction videos for older students. Instead a child’s crisp, clear voice counts through number sets from 1 - 10 and offers commentary about bright, engaging photographs. These photographs are stationary apart from zooming and scrolling effects and transitions from one to the next. Drawing from a wide range of photographs known to appeal to children, animals, vehicles, foods, everyday objects, and scenes from nature are reoccurring selections.
As the child counts the objects on the screen numbers appear next to them. For example, in a photo of eight puppies the child counts 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. as the numbers appear next to each puppy. Each number is represented by over ten photographs and counting sequences – I love this degree of repetition, much more fun than flashcards and certain to cement number recognition. My six-year-old does feel that there are too many images for each number, but the DVD has really helped her nail the numbers 7, 8, and 9 through the intense repetition. Parents have the option of choosing repeat play, play through once, or selecting any of the chapters from 1 to 10 for targeted practice.
Accompanied by classical music written by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Vivaldi, and Pachelbel, this soothing instrumental music is punctuated by noises from the vehicles and animals depicted, bringing excited exclamations from my three-year-old who counts along out loud with her sister.