Saturday, July 23, 2011

Apps We Love—“FirstWords: Deluxe”

App Review
If your toddler is amazed by your iPhone (and what toddler isn’t), there’s a world of amazing apps out there that will turn your little one’s play time into learning time. We like FirstWords: Deluxe by Learning Touch. They recently updated their best-selling reading game for kids and it’s pretty cool. It’s a great way to introduce your child to technology AND promote early literacy.

This app’s user-interface is kid friendly and includes 174 words: animals, vehicles, colors, shapes, and words from around the house. The home page is colorful and highly intuitive. The options settings allow you to customize the game to match your child’s current skills and abilities.

Here’s how it works: the app’s colorful home page has a cute illustration for each of the 5 word groups. There's also an “all words” button in the middle that combines all the groups together. When your child taps one of the buttons, an adorable illustration appears along with a word scramble. For example, tap “animals” and an illustration of a little bee appears on a blue sky next to a random scrambling of the letters “b”, “e” and “e” in little boxes. At the top of the screen is a panel with the word "bee" spelled out in faded letters. (NOTE: the faded letters are “letter hints” and can be turned on or off under “options” to suit your child's level). The object of the game is to drag the letters at the bottom into the correct boxes at the top to spell the word correctly.

An audible pronunciation of each letter sounds when your child touches the letter and when he or she places it in the correct box at the top of the page. When all letters are placed correctly in their box, an audible pronunciation of each letter sounds, followed by a pronunciation of the word. The best part that makes kids smile and giggle is when the word is spelled successfully, the little bee starts to flutter, buzz and twirl around to the center of the page. Your child will learn letters, spelling, fine motor skills, and word-sound association—and have a blast!

The graphics, illustrations and realistic sound effects make this a best-selling app for kids. Be warned, though: they'll want to use your iPhone all the time so have your rules in place for access to the phone, iPod, or iPad in place before you move forward. This app would be great for long trips in the car or for a special play-time session at home. FirstWords: Deluxe and other apps for kids by Learning Touch are available at the iTunes App Store. —Joseph Broda

App Name: FirstWords: Deluxe
Category: Games
Age Level: “If your child is old enough to ask for your iPhone, they're old enough for FirstWords: Deluxe!”
Updated: July 11, 2011
Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Price: $4.99
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Link for FirstWords Deluxe at iTunes App Store:
Bottom Line: Promotes learning in a fun way and gives your kids access to technology.

Joseph Broda is an all-around techie, freelance graphic designer, and writer from Hoboken, N.J. He can be reached at

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