I have young children who are using many of these apps, so I used the criteria provided by team 06 and reflected on some of the apps that my 3 and 5 year old play with. Many have great songs, visuals, original ideas. Some are almost ‘digital worksheets’, which my children seem to love. However, the app that really stands out for me after seeing it in use is this insanely simple Finger Count app.
The game consists of the player touching the screen and each touch creates a bubble with the next number in correct sequence and a voice that says the number. The player can then touch any of the bubbles to pop it and have the number said again. The numbers are intended to be popped in reverse order, so if you pop 9 before 10, it says ‘nine’ but the 10 disappears. The description does not sound riveting, I know, but here is what I love about this app:
- Simplicity – One of the criteria provided to use this week was to ‘think small’. I think that this game does that very well. The goal of the game is to simply count from 1-99 and back down again. The simplicity of the game keeps the focus on the learning rather than other distractions like songs and stickers. Although the learning and mastery goals may not be clearly outlined in the game, they are intuitive and easily mastered.
- Target Audience – This game is targeted at small children who are learning to count. The absence of background music, easter eggs, varying paths is well suited to their learning goals.
- Flexible – The game can be used in a number of ways. The player can simply explore, or play it, but a parent or teacher could use the platform to modify the game to suit the players needs. I noticed my son use the game for a purpose not implicit in the game. During our Christmas Advent calendar time, he would use the game to determine which square was to be opened next and whose turn it was.
- Cost – The full version is only $0.99. A good value for a tool that is so diverse.
I would (and have) recommend this app to parents and educators of small children. A great example of how simple is sometimes the most effective.