Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kandoobi - Animal Edition

Kandoobi - Animal Edition was created by Kandoobi, targeting toddlers and preschoolers 18 months and up. It includes four different games in one - letters, scratch and fill, coloring, and matching. Price: $2.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: Targeting 18 months and up to preschool is hard to do. Like the many times I've said before, so much development occurs during this time that it would be hard for a single app to target the full range. I think this is what Kandoobi struggles with. Let's break it down.

First we have the letter game. This game confused me the most. It aims to teach both letters AND spelling. A three-year-old just learning letters really has no concept of spelling, let alone spelling such long words as "blowfish" or "caterpillar." Let's not even get into younger than 3-years! But then on the other hand, a child who is ready to spell would know all the letters, making this matching game way too easy. I guess this would be ok if you took out the spelling element and just thought of it as a letter matching game only.

Then the two coloring games. Children like to color, so I can see the coloring being a favorite here. The scratch and fill game is probably there to target the  two -year-olds, so older preschoolers might get bored with it. The final shape matching game is really easy, so again, the window here is very small. Kids who are ready to do this type of matching would pick it up very quickly and soon be ready for more challenging puzzles. 

So this may be a good app for families with multiple kids of different ages - a little something for each, but I highly doubt that one kid would be interested in all four games at the same time. Rating: 2/5 (aim for around 3 years)

Balance: The app is very kid-friendly in terms of colors and ease of use. My only thing is that the pictures of the animals are extremely cartoony (the butterfly pictured above is a less cartoony example). If the aim here is to teach kids about animals, research has shown that the more realistic looking the pictures, the better for learning - and I would think that this is more important when it comes to teaching about the shape of animals. This is not to say that we should only be using photographs or anything like that, but just that we should consider the level of realism in terms of any animation or drawing. Rating 4/5

Sustainability: As discussed above, some of these games will have greater longevity than others. Rating: 3/5

Parental Involvement: Parents will probably need to help their child out with the letter game - talk about the animals, show them what to do. Any type of coloring activity can always spark some conversation and sharing, so having two types of coloring activity saves this app. The matching game probably requires the parent the least. Rating: 4/5

Total: 13 out of 20 - 3 stars

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

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