Thursday, 31 May 2012

To the Farm: Free Kids language Building App with some serious credentials

Backed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture Sanoen's new App : To the Farm has now been released for free on the app store. This is Sanoen's second app that we've come across and liked their first kid's app. Coincidentally we have just been playtesting apps for children up to the age of 5 and that's just the age group that To the Farm is aimed at.
Lovely handcrafted Patchwork Graphics

So not one playtester but two have been involved in our app review, a three year old and a one year old. Reactions from both, and from myself are wholeheartedly positive.

The three year old's initial response to one of the intro page's graphics was "He looks like me, Daddy." With such a positive initial response the app could only but be a winner. And indeed even the one year old responded enthusiastically with mcuh slamming and battering of the iPad as her favourite animals trooped across the screen.

From an adult's perspective the kid's educational app is really well designed and thought out, with some serious credentials and thought going into the mechanics behind the improve your vocab app (and more). To give a good idea at the market that the app is aimed at we've taken this quote straight from Sanoen's own app:

All the kids favourite animals are there
with many modes of play
"And now, for the very youngest readers, we’ve created To the Farm!, a vocabulary book designed to stimulate language development. Recommended for children from 0 to 5 years of age, it features various user modes adapted for the age of each child and music and sound effects guaranteed to delight budding digital natives. We’ve also included educational advice provided by our professional consultants in education and early childhood stimulation techniques. We’ve designed an application that allows users to choose the most appropriate reading mode for any child in the 0 -5 age group."

As mentioned some serious thought has gone into this with educational consultants of some standing being drafted in to lend credence to the app:
 "Our educational consultant, Escuela Hamelin International Laie,, has collaborated in the creation of this guide, which is designed to provide orientation regarding the modes recommended for each age group as well as additional information about early childhood stimulation. The theory of early childhood stimulation was developed by Canadian educator Glenn Doman. What exactly is early childhood stimulation? We can define it as the exploitation of the learning capacity and flexibility of a baby’s brain for the development of its cerebral functions by means of a series of stimuli that capture the child’s attention. This teaching method is used to stimulate the cognitive development of children up to the age of six. It’s important to keep in mind that this method is not designed to make children memorize all the images and words they have seen and heard, but rather to stimulate the areas of the brain related to the senses of sight and hearing."

It must also be pointed out that the app functions in various ways depending on the needs and age of the child. The graphics particularly are a lovely patchwork creation evoking memories of childhood felt play and making the educational app seem more a work of craft than hard programming.
Of particular note is how the app can even be used to teach both young and old words from different languages, as with a touch of an onscreen button the app can reads out the name of the animals in English ; German; Chinese and other languages

Three thumbs up from the adult play tester and our two junior testers.

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