Name: Alien Buddies by artgigapps
Fee or Free: 1.99
Rating: 4.5 /5 stars
Why I Like it: This app has great graphics that compel young learners to explore. On the opening screen children are faced with three choices. These are pre-readers so they do not know that the choices are match, dot-to-dot, and stickers but after they explore on their own they will quickly have the functions memorized. Once past this screen going left to right, young readers are given a choice of matching different colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. This where it really gets cool. In the top level learners are asked to find the alien among a line of six that matches a spaceship that flies up from below. Going back to the home screen for matching, learners can do matching through a listening activity which is great for building oral comprehension. The letter matching does lower case to lower case, upper case to upper case, and mixed giving learners a built-in challenge. The numbers are grouped 1-10, 1-20, and 1-50; again building on what children have learned and reinforcing their new knowledge at the same time.
In the dot-to-dot activity there are six choices of simple dot-to-dots (should be called stars-to-stars as children are connecting stars : ) ). Learners can ask for help if they connect to the question mark. In the help mode the next numbered star to connect to turns pink telling learners what to push. In the I can do it myself mode the stars stay yellow. A bonus of the dot-to-dot that as the child hits each number it is said aloud so children get counting skills reinforced. The dot-to-dots get progressively harder as you move left to right and then down. Starting at ten going up to 17 stars to connect. If you are a parent working with your child you might take the opportunity to talk about constellations as the dot-to-dots are stars on a blue background.
Every time a child completes an activity successfully they get a sticker. Going back to the home csreen and choosing the far right choice children are presented with a landing screen showing eight different scenes. When they choose a screen they they are greeted with pleasant thematic music and the stickers they have earned are in a line at the bottom of the page. Stickers that they have not earned yet are transparent motivating them to go back and play more games to earn those stickers.
The graphics are engaging, the music is appealing and not obnoxious, the activities are age appropriate, and the children should get hours of play time from the 1.99 purchase.
Things I'd like to see to give it 5 stars. More challenging dot to dots. I'd like to see higher numbers, more complex pictures, and the use of an alphabet dot-to dot to reinforce the alphabet recognition taught in the app.
All in all, great job artgigapps!
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