Playground HD3 – ABC Edition Review
Earlier this year, I made the decision to home-school my 4 year old instead of sending him to preschool. It has been a very gratifying and challenging experience for both of us. One of the hardest things about homeschooling is coming up with new and innovative ways to introduce and reinforce letter sounds and writing skills. Playground HD3 – ABC Edition was developed by a parent in my exact same shoes. The result was this fun app that includes 6 great exercises to teach the alphabet.
1) Flashcards: This game introduces the uppercase letters from A – Z with the opportunity for the child to trace their finger over the letter to draw it. Numbers and arrows are provided to teach the correct way to write each letter. Tap on the letter to hear its name or tap on the picture next to it to hear the name of an animal that starts with that letter.
2) Practice: This game builds off of the concepts introduced in the Flashcards by adding in lowercase letters as well. Once again, children can trace their fingers over the letter to draw it. You have the option of switching from print to cursive writing as well. Tap the letter to hear the sound it makes.
3) Write: This exercise gives the child an opportunity to create letters, words or messages “free hand”. Children can draw letters in various colors or drag pre-drawn letters onto the page. They can take a picture of their masterpiece when it is done!
4) Assign: Players can either match the upper & lowercase letters that go together or match animal picture to the letter that it starts with. Again, when children touch the letter its name can be heard.
5) Pairs: This is a memory-matching exercise where players match cards letter to letter, letter to picture or uppercase to lowercase.
6) Words: In this activity, children unscramble the letter cards beneath an animal picture to spell the name of that animal. With over 65 animal pictures, your child will learn many new words!
One unique feature of this app is that is multi-lingual. You can choose from German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Swedish. My kids really enjoyed switching languages and hearing the letters and words pronounced in a different language. Another feature that I appreciate is that the developer has included a built-in timer. You can choose how long you want your child to play the game and it will end the games when the time has expired. One issue that I noticed as we played was that some of the letter sounds in the games were not accurately pronounced. For example, the letter “G” is pronounced “juh” instead of “guh” and the letter “U” is pronounced “yew” not “uh”. Technically, these letters can make those sounds but they are not the phonetic sounds that are commonly taught initially so it was a bit confusing for my younger children. I would recommend to the developer that they consider changing to the phonetic pronunciations.
Overall, I really liked this app. I can tell that the developer really put a great deal of thought and effort into the activities. This app is a fun way to teach and reinforce these early reading skills. The variety of exercises kept my kids entertained for quite a while. I will definitely be incorporating Playground HD3 – ABC Edition into my homeschool lessons. It is a great tool to have for any family with young children who are learning to read.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Seller: Jan Essig
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.