Monday, October 29, 2012
Some parents bemoan the loss of simple activities and games to the ever-increasing reach of videogames and apps. Other parents are happy to let their children move with the times and join the digital world sooner rather than later. I say there's a happy medium -- apps and videogames can be fun, effective teaching tools, especially when they are complemented with activities in real life!
Case in point: The Dr. Seuss Fun Machine app. It's a set of physical game tiles you can buy in stores that's designed to be played in conjunction with a free app that parents can download on their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Young children can certainly have fun with the app on its own (it's fun to "pull" the digital lever and see random game tiles show up on the screen!) and they can certainly have fun with the game tiles (you can ask your child to find all the tiles with The Grinch, or all the tiles with a blue triangle), but the most fun and learning happens when you use the tiles and the app together.
There are 3 different games kids can play with the app:
Matching: A Game Tile appears on the screen and kids challenge their memories to find the matching tile from the physical game tiles that have been laid down on the floor.
Slap Down: A Game Tile appears on the screen and kids race each other to find the physical game tile and slap it onto the pile.
Guess A Roo: Clues appear on the screen, and kids have to guess which Game Tile it is.
In all games, kids "pull" a lever on the screen to bring up a new tile. Of course, the lever and everything else is wonderfully illustrated in the Dr. Seuss style, so kids feel right at home in the wacky world of Dr. Seuss. Unfortunately, the tiles don't actually interact with the screen or anything -- but it it still does a great job combining the interactivity of an iOS app with the reassuring feel of actual, physical tiles to play with. Preschoolers will love this game!
Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.