Baby Learns Simple Objects is the latest app from Bebebe, who also published Baby Learns Colors. The two apps have a lot in common, including the fact that there is more to them than meets the eye. It will be useful for students in early childhood settings and special education, and might also help children learning second languages. [NOTE: This app is free for Friday, October 19th, 2012.]
There are two main activities: Learn and Play. Both activities use one of four scenes : Playground, Farm, Bedroom and Kitchen. Some of the elements in each scene are interactive, for example in the kitchen, you can drag items on to the table (or other areas of the scene) as you find them. The interactive elements are cheeky and fun. There doesn’t seem to be any change in the degree of difficulty, although in the farm scene, clouds move across the sky and cover the sun. If this happens and you are asked to find the sun, you have to wait until the clouds move on.
Learn mode – As items or areas on the scene are tapped, their name is announced by the Avatar. While some items, such as sky, grass or field, remain static, most items react with a noise and/or animation. The animations are quite clever and engaging, keeping the child’s attention.
Play mode – The character asks you to touch (or find) a colour. Most items will react with a sound-effect and/or animation. Correct answers result in praise from the Avatar. If the child chooses incorrectly, the child is prompted to try again and the question is repeated. The question can be repeated by tapping on the Avatar. After 5 correct answers, children receive an award.
Paint – Tap the paintbrush on any of the scenes in Play mode to find a colouring activity.
Baby Learns Simple Objects has the same “really cool” rewards as Baby Learns Colors. For every five correct answers, children earn a Bebeka, which is a little cartoon animal (or alien?). The animals are added to a scene where they can be moved about and respond to being tapped. There is even an option to feed the animals, and it is lots of fun to work out which food each animal likes to eat. With rewards like this, I can confidently say children will be rushing back to answer more questions.
The app comes with several child Avatars of both sexes and several racial types, each with a different voice. You can apply specific voices to specific scenes. Two voices, American English and French, are installed with the App, but you can download others for free. As the app is only new, there are only three other languages currently available for download, but I am sure more will be available soon as people add their own customised voice files to the collection. It is easy to record your own voice (or your child’s) to use. This is a brilliant idea as it makes the app a handy resource for multilingual families, and for those learning new languages. Sometimes it is simply more motivating for a child to hear their own voice or the familiar voice of a loved one. I’m going to enjoy recording an Australia English voice, particularly as one or two of the items are pronounced differently in Australia. LOTE (Languages Other Than English) teachers wanting to reinforce basic environmental names might like to try this.
I still think any app with “baby” in the title should be viewed with suspicion, and I won’t be using this app with my baby (at least, not for a year or two!), but I think it will be very useful for preschoolers and other early childhood settings, children learning second languages, and children with special needs.
- Baby Learns Colors (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)