Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alien Buddies

Alien Buddies was created by Artgig Studio and consists of matching, connect the dots, and puzzle games for preschool and kindergarteners. Aliens help your child to learn to match letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.2 or later


Developmental Appropriateness: Ok, let's start with the matching games. Here, you have to put the alien who is a specific letter, number, color, or shape to the matching alien ship. The aliens are funny, and they give appropriate feedback. Is it a successful matching game? Yes. Although it does not actually say that this is a game about learning numbers, letters, shapes, or colors, one would assume that that is the intent. Is this an effective game for learning this material? Probably not. There are two stages - one where you see the target, let's stick with number, on the ship and the numbers on the aliens. You can then tap on the ship and aliens, and they will say the corresponding number. So you both see and hear the number on both what you have to choose and where you have to put it. In the second stage, they take the visual cue off the ship, so now you can hear the target number, and then see AND hear the numbers on the aliens. A little harder, but still, you don't have to actually know your numbers to play this game - you can still match them by hearing it. Sure, I think maybe this game might help kids who are already learning this material and this is just making it all more familiar, but I don't think this game can stand alone. Plus, I would hope that a kindergartener, and even older preschooler would be able to match in this way, making this app too easy for them. Why not go the extra step? The next level could simply be that you hear the number on the ship, and see the numbers on the aliens - only. That would be ""identification," a very real and frequently used task in preschools. 




With the connect the dots game, the numbers are always in order. Given that you can choose the difficulty with many aspects of this app, why not have a level where the numbers are mixed, to truly challenge a child to learn the sequence of numbers? As is, you're really just going in a circle.


The puzzles are regular jigsaw puzzles. The aliens characters are cute, making these puzzles appealing. Finally, the stickers activity, is not really a task or anything - it's where you get all your sticker rewards from the other activities and make pictures with them. Yes, you can get a little creative, but "creative free play", "fine motor skills" and "builds learning confidence" is overselling it a bit, isn't it? Rating: 2/5 (aim for around 3 years)


Balance: I think the aliens provide a good balance of silliness and appropriate feedback without being distracting. The connect the dots game has small numbers, thus may require "fine motor skills" so the younger kids may need a little help. Rating: 4/5


Sustainability: Again, I like the aliens and I think kids will too. However, at least the matching and connect the dot activities are too easy for the target age group so I don't think they will keep coming back for long once they've gotten a enough stickers. Rating: 3/5


Parental Involvement: There's not much for parents to do here. What more prompting could they possibly provide that the game hasn't already? Rating: 2.5/5


Total: 11.5 out of 20: 2 stars




Disclosure: I received this app for free for review purposes.

1 comment:

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