Monday, July 23, 2012

Preschool Apps We Love: “I Learn Through Transportation,” “Sound Shaker,” and “Bug Builder”


When you’re choosing an app for the youngest users, you want something that’s engaging and educational and at the same time expands the way your child thinks. The sky’s the limit for preschoolers and I found a trio of apps that are fun, easy to use, and encourage expansive thinking.


I Learn Through Transportation by Dada Company encourages kids to think about different forms of transportation in terms of name, color, sound, shape, and differing environment. It’s very user-friendly and intuitive. Just touch the vehicle to hear its sound, for example. And this is firmly anchored in a child’s world. You won’t hear a recording of a fire truck’s siren. Instead, you’ll hear a child’s voice imitating the sound, which is sweet and hilarious all at once; and it encourages users to play along. This game is bi-lingual as well, and users can play in English or Spanish. This app was developed in Spain and you may notice the European flavor, such as an ambulance or fire truck making a “nee-naw” sound. I actually love those extra teachable moments. And I love the style of illustration here, the slightly retro “space age” look, full of bright colors and simple but fun shapes.

Sound Shaker by Tickle Tap Apps is a sound-making game. In effect, it’s a 21st century rattle, but this isn’t for babies. This is an innovative, engaging app that allows users to create sound combinations and then experiment and manipulate those combinations. It’s very empowering. For example, users can choose from nine different sound collections. If you choose the piano keys, every time you tap the screen, another ball appears that sounds like a note from the musical scale. The longer you hold down your finger, the larger the ball becomes and the higher the note climbs. When you shake or tip your device, the balls crash into one another, creating chords and new worlds of sound.

Bug Builder by Tickle Tap is a toddler paint and decorate game. Kids choose a shape for their bug, decorate their shape by dipping their fingers in a choice of colors, then “build” their bug by tapping it. The bug transforms and “hatches” and comes to life onscreen, sprouting a random combination of antennae, wings, legs, tongue, eyes, etc., as it skitters and make buggy noises. Your child can take a photograph of their art and email it (to grandma, I suspect). Each new bug is completely different. This app is very easy to use and a lot of fun. It hits just the right silly note with a bit of ick factor.

And here’s a handy bonus for kid’s app lovers everywhere: you know how I always say that free is a good price? The site Appysmarts (that reviews apps for young kids) has a new feature: their “News & Deals Channel” and it promises to be a great resource for free and discounted apps. Check it out. Tell them Maggie sent you and you’ll get … well, the same freebies everyone else gets.

Review Summary
App Name: I Learn Through Transportation by Dada Company
Category: Education
Updated: June 2, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: $0.99
Bottom Line: Encourages users to look at transportation from many different angles.

App Name: Sound Shaker by Tickle Tap Apps for zinc Roe
Category: Education
Released: March 20, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: $1.99
Bottom Line: Create a story with sounds.

App Name: Bug Builder by Tickle Tap Apps for zinc Roe
Category: Education
Updated: February 14, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
Price: $0.99
Bottom Line: Fun app makes your art come alive.


6 comments:

  1. wonderful review, thanks so much for that!
    DADA team

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  2. Thank you. A gift to find your blog today!

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    1. You're welcome. Don't be a stranger!

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