Alien BuddiesSpring 2012 Mobile Apps
The Alien Buddies App is an adorable iOS game platform for young children to learn about colors, shapes, letters and numbers. The app opens to a main screen with engaging graphics and music and large, clearly marked icons with various games of matching, puzzles, dot to dot and stickers. Each game can be adjusted for your child's skill level. For instance, in the puzzles game, children can choose 4, 6 or 8 pieces. The games are narrated by children, and the aliens in each game are really fun with bright colors, googly-eyes, and big smiles (that is, if they have mouths at all-they are aliens, of course!). This app reminds me of the "fun books" we used to take on trips, loaded with dot-to-dot, puzzles, and stickers. It works in quite the same fashion, and it keeps kids entertained while waiting for the doctor or going on long car rides.
My only reservation with this game is the recommended age range. My youngest, who is five, definitely benefits from the learning experiences, but it is much too "young" for my seven year olds to actually hold any learning value. While it is still entertaining for the older ones, I wouldn't put it in the educational category for them. All of my kids do enjoy playing the various games on this app, though, and I think it is an excellent learning tool for the younger end of the recommended age range. The letter and number games are particularly exceptional, because they don't just teach the letters, upper case and lower case. There is also a feature where the child clicks a button to hear the letter pronounced, after which they match the letter to its name. Three- to five-year-olds will definitely get long-term play value out of this app. A note to the developer: We'd love to see an activity for practicing writing each letter and number in a future version!