Mellow Mummy: The Sunday Review - Wonderkind IPhone / IPod apps for Toddlers : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday 15 May 2011

The Sunday Review - Wonderkind IPhone / IPod apps for Toddlers

This month we are going on holiday by aeroplane to France. Last time we travelled by plane, Lara screamed blue murder for the duration and wriggled and jiggled across several rows of seats. I'm not hopeful – I've little mellowness left when it comes to air travel with kids. After the success of the Humpf app, I've been on the lookout for some more apps for my Ipod touch that are suitable for Lara as a means of entertaining her at the airport and in the long queue while waiting for our hire car.

We've been trying out two different apps from Wonderkind, both of which feature stylised hand-drawn images of animals that they describe as 'charming' and 'enchanting'.

The Wonder Memory Classic Matching Game – matching pairs, if you like is a game for all ages. You can play it at a very basic level (with 3 pairs) or at a series of more advanced levels for children and adults alike. Lara seems to have already grasped the concept of the basic game – remembering where the images of animals or vehicles have already appeared. It surprised me how quickly she picked it up.

Other than the classic game, there are two other game styles that I really like. The 'living pictures' game features sounds and animation as a reward when your child finds a matching pair. There is also a 'sounds' version where you have to match sounds, not pictures. Trust me, it's trickier than you think!

Wonder Memory is a good game for me to have on my Ipod touch because I can while away the time as well as playing it with Lara – at 59p I think its good value in terms of entertainment value. Simple, yet endlessly playable. There is also an HD version available for the Ipad.

The other game that we tried out is called 'Toddler's Seek & Find'. It features three different scenes in which are hidden a large number of animals or people who, when touched, play a short animation to reward you for having found them. I thought it would particularly appeal to Lara because of the animals.

Lara can spend quite some time sitting and playing with this game without any help from me. The deer who eats a woman's cabbages makes her giggle every time and she always mimics the gribbeting frog! I think she is too young to understand the hilarity(?) of a farting pig but the makers go to some lengths to explain that you can switch off this feature if it causes offence!!!

I found the images to be a little too small for Lara. Some of the birds and small
creatures are really very tiny and hard to find so I always switched on the 'zoom' feature which zooms in when you've found an animated creature – it helped a little but I still feel that the pictures are too detailed for a toddler and the drawings of people are not as realistic as those of the animals.

I also didn't feel that there was as much play value in the Seek & Find picture book. There are three scenes, each with two screens. I was a little disappointed that there was no more to it than that, no new scenes to reveal once you'd found all of the things hidden in the first three levels. Maybe I'm not looking at it from the toddler's point of view because Lara seems to find plenty of entertainment in it and I think that between the two apps, we'll have plenty to keep her occupied in airport departure lounges this month.
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