Puzzles are an important part of early learning. They help children develop spacial awareness, problem-solving skills and more. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of puzzle apps in the AppStore, so it can be difficult to choose one. My First App – Vol. 1 Vehicles is a great puzzle app from appp media, the people behind Professor Kim – What’s Missing Here. MFA Vehicles offers some traditional puzzles but with some great twists that make it supportive and high interest for a range of ability levels. Thanks to Kristin Heitmann of appp media for providing me with this app for the review.
- Attractive collage-style graphics – 16 different illustrations are used, although there are only 8 used per activity.
- Three activities: Puzzle, Matching Halves and Tilt Game.
- Background music (Here we go ’round the mulberry bush) can be turned off.
- Settings for children of different ability levels.
There are 8 different vehicle images to choose from, and you can use the settings to set the difficulty level from 2, 4, 6 or 9 puzzle pieces. For extra difficulty, you can select the rotation option that flicks some pieces around. Use two fingers to rotate. Children see the complete picture before it is broken into squares. Drag and drop the pieces to the correct spot to complete the puzzle.
This activity uses the same 8 images as the puzzle activity. Two mis-matched vehicle halves appear on the screen. scroll either half up or down until you find two halves that match. Each vehicle has a different colour as a background, and this can help with the matches.
Tilt ball game
This is a favourite activity in my home at the moment. The 8 images used in this game are different to those used in the other two activities, and each has three “holes.” Tilt your device to guide the ball into one of three holes in the picture. When the ball enters the hole, it triggers an animation and the hole disappears. The activity is complete once the ball has been guided to the three holes.
The latest update added the option to drag the ball to the hole, which will be helpful for those who find the tilting activity too difficult, for example very young children, or children with fine motor difficulties.
This YouTube video by appp media gives a great overview of the app. You can see each of the games, plus the puzzle settings in action.
Things I love about this app
- Simple operation – The layout of the app is clear, with simple controls that are easy to master.
- No language barriers – there are no written or verbal instructions, making it suitable for children of any nationality and for children with a hearing impairment.
- No external links, in-app purchases or advertising. There is a web address for appp media that you can read via a subtle information button, but it is not a live link.
- Supportive features – the different difficulty levels, the coloured backgrounds, and the drag option in the tilt game all allow this game to be used by children with a variety of physical and intellectual abilities. It will be well suited to special ed environments as well as being great for families with children of different ages and abilities.
- Graphics – I love the collage-style graphics. Perhaps I’m biased as I’m a keen scrapbooker, stamper and card-maker myself, but there is something entirely gorgeous about these illustrations.
I really can’t think of anything I’d add to this app, except perhaps some more vehicles. There are enough to keep any child happy, but you can never have too much of a good thing 🙂 The name of the app gives you a clue that there is at least one more volume in the planning. I’d love to see the same activities done with animals. My children would have a lot of fun making up funny animal names in the matching halves games (e.g. Pig + Cow = POW). I’d also like to see volumes with themes such as household items or rooms, healthy food, and toys.
appp media has once again produced a great early concepts app that offers more features than most apps. My First App – vol. 1 Vehicles is bright, fun and great value. I look forward to Volume 2.
Publisher: Appp Media