By Tech Powered Dad | December 1, 2011
Topics covered: Numbers, letters, shapes, and basic spelling and arithmetic
Cost:[ $2.99 (but free for a limited time)]
A brand new app in the iOS Appstore that I’ve had the opportunity to take a look at over the last week is Play Maker, by Fingerprint. Fingerprint is a new player in the educational app market. They were founded former LeapFrog executive Nancy MacIntyre.
Having had the chance to look at a couple of launch titles for Fingerprint, I’d have to say the thing that sets them apart from other apps I’ve looked at is the level of customization and interaction for parents. Fingerprint apps often include the ability to record sounds from parents or the children themselves and for parents to receive feedback about how their child is doing and send encouragement to their child with messages they record. Play Maker is no different. Kids have the ability to create their own avatar (out of a fingerprint), including color, clothing, hair, and “celebration moves.” They can even record their own sounds for a correct and incorrect response.
Once a child selects their setting and difficulty, they see various fingerprint avatars moving across the screen and have to tap the “fingerprints” that match the correct answer. On the easy level, this just means matching the number, letter, or shape at the top of the screen. On the hard level, that means spelling 3-letter words and solving simple addition and subtraction facts.
I got a chance to try the app out with my nieces and nephews. I can verify that the target ages of 3-8 are just about right. The 4 and 5 year olds absolutely loved the game, but the 8 and 9 year olds got bored sooner. I got a kick out of it myself. I would have appreciated a change in music every so often, but other than that, it’s a really nice app for teaching some basics about numbers and shapes. Little kids love recording their own voice to hear as a reward for a right answer, and since they can record a new celebration each game if they want, this one will keep younger kids playing for a long time. It’s a great way to practice number, letter, and shape recognition.