Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Magic Sorter/ Poll results - What age should kids start using apps?

Magic Sorter was created by Igromatic and is a puzzle app recommended for toddlers 1-3 years of age. It's been awhile since I've reviewed an app targeting such young kids - my target age range is really 3-8 years. I set it at 3 on the lower end because I'm not sure how beneficial it is for kids younger than 3 to be using apps?Canthey use apps? Sure - kids are amazingly tactile But should they - we still don't know. We've been warned not to let kids under 2 watch tv - should the age range differ for apps? You, my readers, seem to think so - or some of you at least. Remember the poll to the right of screen? Yes, the one that's been up and closed forever and I've forgotten about - I've reopened if you want to vote now. Here are the results (out of 52 votes):

The most number of votes went the the 1-2 years range. Tying this back to Magic Sorter, the majority of the votes fall in the 1-3 year range - the target age range of the app. So maybe it's just me being conservative on the age. What do we expect from apps for these young kids? Does Magic Sorter convince me that apps should target kids under 3? Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.1 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: This app is all about puzzles - puzzles about color, sizes, and a classic jigsaw puzzle. sure, these are great puzzles for toddlers. Does making them into an app add any value than just have regular old physical puzzles? Not really. I guess when I think about educational apps, I think about what can it add that the traditional activity doesn't have? Sure, convenience/portability, etc. But I don't think that this app takes learning to the next step.

In terms of usability - I"m going to say it again - drag and drop is not easy for young kids. Watch the video. This girl was chosen to do this video - meaning she's probably been prepped. Watch her drag the puzzle pieces - it's not exactly easy for her. 

Rating: 3/5 (aim for around 3 years).

Balance: The app is very simple and user-friendly. For this age group though, parents will need to help navigate and show their child what to do. There's some animation at the end of each puzzle (watch the little girl dance) :) Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: There are a bunch of puzzles and the categories of puzzles also add to the variety. Rating: 4/5

Parental Involvement: The developers acknowledge that parents may need to assist, but again, usability is not the type of involvement I look for from parents. However, I will say that some of the puzzles lend themselves to "teachable" moments like talking about size, shape, and color. Rating: 3.5/5

So, I'm still not convinced of the benefits of apps for kids under 3.

Total: 14.5 out of 20 - 3 stars

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

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