Piloting Early Family Maths App in Kenya

  1st May, 2023 - 31st December, 2023
Award Recipient(s) Zach Mbasu (INNODEMS)
Partners IDEMS, Kenyatta University


This pilot project aims to explore how the Early Family Math (EFM) app can enhance fun, educational engagement between children and parents. We anticipate that the app's educational appeal may encourage parents in Kenya and East Africa to allocate quality time with their kids. We are also challenging the notion that literacy and numeracy skills can only be developed in school by advocating for playful learning.

We plan to conduct an 8-week pilot project with up to 80 participating parents and their children aged 2 to 4. The first two months will be dedicated to the planning and preparation phase, which will involve designing the pilot, obtaining ethics approval, training the local team, recruiting participants, and adapting content for the Early Family Math (EFM) app. The following two months will focus on the actual implementation of the pilot, starting with orientation meetings. In this stage, participants will receive playful activities content through the app, followed by focus group discussions and remote interviews. The final two months will be devoted to analysing the data and preparing a comprehensive report. This report will present our findings from the pilot, propose possible further studies, and explore ways to incorporate the EFM app into other initiatives.


First, it's all about "Learning through Play". It shows that when parents and kids play together, it can help kids get better at maths. This tells us that you do not only learn in school - playing can be learning, too. Next, it's pushing for "Playful Parenting". This means encouraging parents to play more with their kids, which is not what all parents normally do in the Kenyan context. It can make learning more fun and helps kids and parents understand each other better. Third, it's trying to help parents who are worried about teaching their kids maths. By making them less anxious, parents can support their kids more in learning maths. Finally, it's about making the best use of "Digital Technologies", like learning apps. The project wants to find out what makes a good maths app so that it can make the Early Family Math (EFM) app and other programs even better. All these things can make learning, especially maths, a whole lot more fun and effective.

How does this tie in with the GPI's overall goals?

The EFM app is built on ParentApp technologies, focused on education. It helps parents and kids have playful experiences together motivated by encouraging learning of foundational mathematical content. We expect informative results for both mathematical learning and parent-child relationships. These correspond to two broad ways this work could lead to further funding and impact:

  • EFM app has the potential to be built out into a full blown mathematical literacy intervention which could reach disadvantaged populations.
  • EFM app is built on GPI technologies and we hypothesise that it has the potential to draw parents into parenting content through education.

What comes next?

This project aims to make maths learning fun by promoting playful activities and parental involvement. If the EFM app successfully attracts parents then it would be possible to extend the study by investigating the impact on uptake on integrating EFM as a hook to digital parenting interventions such as ParentApp.