Thursday, September 19, 2013
Featured App - Playground 1: Best of Edition (best Android apps for kids)
Wow, this app is jam packed! With twelve different activities, each with loads of different versions of the activity, this app will keep your little one going for quite some time! There is spot-the-difference, memory, drawing, slide puzzles, reflex games, music, and more - so many ways for your child to learn through play and learn/practice skills in math, fine motor, creativity etc. Well worth downloading, especially as there are NO ads and NO in-app purchases!
External links within the parent area that go to the developer's webpage
FREE Lite Version $3.98 Full Version
Search - is a spot-the-difference activity where the player is required to find five differences between the two cards of each scene. There are 20 different scenes and five stars are earned for the completion of each scene. It is possible to skip to the next scene without having found all five differences, but progress for that scene will not be saved.
Pairs - is a memory match game that begins with four cards and increases to 30 cards. That means there are 14 different games of pairs, with up to three stars being awarded for each game completed (according to the number of moves to find all matching pairs). Pre-reading observation skills are developed playing this game, as well as strengthening memory skills.
Puzzle - has two modes: toddler (four pieces) or pro (eight pieces). Toddler mode is a silhouette/shape cutout type of puzzle requiring the player to match the animal with its silhouette. There are 10 different toddler puzzles. Pro mode requires the player to put eight pieces of a single animal together to complete the animal picture. There are also 10 different pro puzzles. A single star is awarded for each puzzle completed. Puzzles are a great early math activity that develops spatial awareness and problem solving skills.
Draw - is a drawing/coloring activity with the option of free drawing on blank paper, or choosing from a selection of 15 pages to color in. There are 18 different colors to choose from, three different brush sizes, a paint-fill option, an eraser, as well as undo, redo and restart options. Completed pictures can be saved to the tablet gallery. This is a good activity for the child to express his/her creativity.
Erase - is a magic finger type of activity. Eight different scenes are grayed out, only revealing limited detail of the final picture. The grayness is "erased" to reveal the full picture with a star only being awarded very close to completely erasing the whole area. Another pre-reading activity, as the child predicts the final picture and can discuss with a parent what's happening in the scene.
Slide - is a nine-piece slide puzzle activity with eight different puzzles to complete. Hints are provided (I'm so grateful for this feature!) where the completed scene is revealed, or the pieces are numbered according to their order on the board. Each puzzle can be restarted and a star is awarded upon completion of each one. Another early math activity that trains the brain.
Catch - is like whack-a-mole in that the player is required to tap five times on the head of the specified animal as it pops up out of a hole in the ground. The game increases in difficulty from finding one animal among one, to finding one animal among five. Observation skills are again developed here as the child discriminates between the increasing number of animals to choose the correct one.
Remember - is a memory repeat game that requires the player to repeat the pattern played. The sequence increases from a single note to a string of 10 notes to be repeated, with a star awarded after each successful sequence repeated. A wrong move will reset the sequence and stars will have to be earned again (although stars earned from unsuccessful sequences are not taken away). Brain training again, as the sequence increases in length. It would be very normal for young children not to be able to complete a full 10-note sequence.
Piano - is a freestyle activity, involving a keyboard of eight notes, and corresponding animal sounds. Five different sound sets are available, i.e., cats, frogs, cows, fish and piano. The player can either tap the notes of the keyboard (which triggers the corresponding animal to make its animal sound) or tap on the animals (which triggers the corresponding key to light up). The piano sound set animates the animal still but a piano note will sound instead of an animal sound. Another activity that allows the child to express his/her creativity!
Collect - is a 2D star collecting runner type of activity where the player is required to drag the fish along a path to collect the five stars on the path. There are 25 different paths of increasing difficulty, and a single star is awarded for the completing of each path. This is a great pre-writing activity as it requires hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor control.
Roll - is another nine-piece puzzle; however, the pieces don't slide but rather roll around in place to complete one of four puzzles. A star is awarded for each puzzle completed and although the easy way to do this is to complete one puzzle, then roll each piece over to the next side to complete the next puzzle, there is the option to mix up the pieces after each completion. This type of puzzle is good for observation and matching skills.
Colors - is a bubble pop type of game involving placing waiting fish in amongst the larger school of fish. A same color match of three or more fish removes the fish of that color. The larger school of fish advances towards the waiting fish and so with each move, the end of the game is potentially closer. This is as much a strategy game as simply a matching game.
A lot of thought has gone into the making of Playground 1, resulting in a good quality app that has good quality audio and video, engaging activities, all with NO ads and NO in-app purchases. One bonus feature of this app, which I have not seen before, is a timer. You can set how much time your child will spend playing with the app before a screen appears asking if you would like to continue. To unlock this screen, four buttons need to be held at the same time for three seconds. This is the kind of app you would be happy for your child to play for extended periods, but if you need to restrict the time for some reason, just set the timer anywhere from 5mins up to 2hrs 55mins.
Not only is the app user friendly, but the developer also is very approachable. I found a glitch while playing with this app, so I contacted the developer. He promptly responded and set about fixing the bug. Talk about customer service!
Smart Apps For Android was paid a fee for this sponsored post.
APP DESCRIPTION ON GOOGLE PLAY
Playground 1 contains 12 DIFFERENT games for kids aged 2-6 years:
1.) FIND IT: 20 pictures, each with 5 errors
2.) PAIRS / MATCH UP: 100 different motives
3.) PUZZLE: 10 "Toddler" Puzzles with 4 pieces & 40 Puzzles with 8 pieces
4.) DRAW: 15 motives for coloring / 1 empty canvas / 18 colors / 3 Brush sizes / Paint bucket
5.) ERASE: 8 Scratch cards
6.) SLIDING PUZZLE: 8 Motives
7.) CATCH: Catch 5 animals of the same kind
8.) REMEMBER: Try to repeat a shown combination
9.) PIANO: 4 motives each with 8 animals (cats, frogs, cows, fish)
10.) COLLECT: Mama fish has to collect 5 stars for her Kids in 25 levels
11.) ROLL: Alternative to the "SLIDE" game for the little ones
12.) COLORS: Bubble Shooter with colored fishes
NO ADS / NO IN-APP-PURCHASES
KNOW what's inside: As a MOMs with Apps member, I follow the "Know what's inside" best practices for kids' apps.
Together with my two children (4 + 2 years) we developed an App that contains their current favorite games. We have tried to make all games as clear and simple as possible. We have also tried to optimize those things we disliked in other games.
Even the most beautiful game becomes boring sometime. The following search for "another game" somewhere on the iPad always was quite nerve-wracking and frustrating for my kids (and me). Fortunately this is past. All games are clearly structured on the title screen so your children can quickly change the game without getting lost in the vastness of the iPad.
PLEASE contact me for any help, concerns or suggestions to improve this App. Don´t hesitate to contact me via mail: firstname.lastname@example.org :) A short review would be wonderful Best regards and have fun playing Jan Essig