Learning Touch’s new app helps a child develop basic reading skills with letter and word recognition activities.
Parents who have an early reader at home will benefit from downloading this app. With ten levels and thousands of combinations, young children can receive an early introduction to crossword puzzles. Each puzzle is randomly launched and after multiple plays the same word only appeared once. After the completion of a word, a cute graphic and audio accompaniment pops up on the screen.
The difficulty increases as you progress through each puzzle. However, previous levels do not need to be finished in order to advance. This is a helpful feature if you have a grade school age child who finds the first few levels too basic. Word lengths are usually three or four letter and the hardest levels throw in extra puzzle letters to make the crossword more difficult to complete.
App control was very simple and children won’t find it hard to navigate to different areas. Swiping your finger across the screen moves the letters, and icons are provided in each puzzle that let you return to the home screen or skip the puzzle and go to the next one. Sound effects for the most part were very good, although a few of the letter sounds were hard to distinguish.
The one complaint I have about the app is that it doesn’t pose enough of a challenge. Although that’s not a problem with someone like my preschool tester, school-age children may grow bored with the puzzles. When you attempt to put the wrong letter in, a bell sounds and the letter is pushed away. Eventually, the correct word will appear due to process of elimination. A better version for older kids would allow an incorrect word to be submitted and then retest the child on his incorrect answers during the next game.
Preschool word fun
The first few levels are simple enough to get your child accustomed to game play. Three and four letter words are provided along with the outline of an object. Once all letters and brought to their correct squares, the object is filled with color and spins to the front of the screen as it makes a fun sound. The early levels are very easy since the letters are already highlighted in the squares. It simply requires the child to drag the puzzle piece to the box.
The main benefit is teaching letter identification and helping the child pronounce new letter sounds. The child can stay at the same level without advancement and not find the crosswords repetitive. It’s helpful that Kids Crosswords offers up a database of 100 words.
If your child has already begun reading, you may want to skip the early levels. After level five, puzzles become increasingly difficult and require the completion of two and three word combinations. Other advanced options include left to right puzzles, puzzles with no hints and extra letters thrown into the mix. At the end of each puzzle level, the child is given praise and the option to repeat the level or advance through the game.
All in all, Kids Crosswords is a good addition to your collection of apps as you teach your child to read. Ideal ages for the app would probably fall in the three to six year old range. The cute graphics and simple controls allow the child to do much of the game play independently. The $2.99 price tag seems a little steep, but if new vocabulary will be added on a regular basis, it will be well worth it.
|Good Point||Kids are not likely to grow bored with the app. Between the mix up section, quizzes and games, children can use the app for an extended amount of time.|
|Bad Point||Not very challenging. It’s impossible to enter an incorrect answer into the game.|
|Comment & Tip||Under the Settings menu, you can change how each word is spelled out. It defaults to a phonetic pronunciation, but you can change it to repeat the letters.|
|App Name||Kids Crosswords||Developer||Learning Touch|
|Price||$2.99||Latest Update||March 21, 2012|
|User Age||2 and up||Category||Education|
|Size||16.9MB||OS||iOS 4.0 or later|
All images from Kids Crosswords