Device Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad;
Requires iOS 3.0 or later; Android 2.0 and up
Developmental Appropriateness: Two of the major questions I ask when it comes to developmental appropriateness are "Is it right for the targeted age group?" and" What skill is it trying to target?". At first glance, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox seems to be a solid app for preschoolers - the games cover topics that are appropriate for preschoolers. But the more I played it, the less I thought of the app. With the first question, the app says it targets 2-5 year-olds. This is certainly true. But like I've said before, this is a wide age range and a lot happens during these early years. Some of the games like color and spot the difference are fit for the really young ones, 2 to 3-year-olds, while other games like the puzzles and matching are more for the older kids, like 5-year-olds. You do not have the option of choosing which games to play, it's all part of one game. So 5-year-olds will be bored with some items, and 2-year-olds will find some items too difficult.
For the second question, I really question what the counting and letter tasks are measuring. First with counting - there is a lot to understand about numbers and it is often difficult to assess exactly what a child understands about numbers. Just because they can count to 10 doesn't mean they understand those numbers. In this task, the Monkey asks for x amount of fruit and you have to tap on that amount of fruit. So what is trying to measure? Verbal counting? No. The app counts for you. Enumeration (*see below for definitions)or one-to-one correspondence? Maybe, but not quite. The task only presents the number that is asked for - so when it wants 4 apples, there are only 4 apples on the screen. How do we know the child is not just tapping on everything that's on the screen? Cardinality**? No - again, we really don't know what the child is doing. Does the child really know that he or she just put 4 apples in the basket or did he or she just tap on everything on the screen?