Little Academy uses matching games to help children discover relationships between objects, words, images, sounds and more. Children will find games in the areas of Art, Sounds, Numbers and Letters. In Art, the games Vehicles and Find the Right Vehicle are unlocked. Children will be asked to flip over cards to match an object with the right vehicle, for example clouds go with airplane, moon goes with rocket and a trash bag goes with garbage truck. Find the Right Vehicle has children matching the person who is associated with a vehicle to that vehicle. An engineer to the train, astronaut to rocket, doctor to ambulance, etc. In the Sounds section the games Vehicles and Pets are unlocked. When playing these games children will need to match a sound card with a card that shows the picture of the object that would make this sound. Numbers contains the games Addition from 1 to 5 and Figures from 1 to 5. The Addition game will require players to match a card with an addition problem to the card that shows the correct answer. The Figures game uses cards that show numbers and cards that show a matching number of objects. Finally, in the Letter section children will find the games Pets and Figures 1 to 5. Pets uses cards that show pictures of animals and cards that show the names of the animals. Children must put the two correct combinations together. The Figures game shows groups of objects and children must match theses with cards that display the written out number.  Each of the unlocked games in the different sections can be purchased by parents, the developers have safeguarded them against accidental download. I couldn’t determine if there was a way to download all of the games at once.

I like the idea of using a matching game to help children make the connection between these different concepts, but there are a few areas where I think Little Academy could make improvements. First, I found the names of the different sections confusing, especially Art and Letters. In my mind the matching games here would involve shapes or colors, not vehicles. I had similar confusion with the Letters section, I was expecting alphabet letters, not full words. My second suggestion is to include voice overs/narration when children tap on the cards. Right now the only time they hear anything is when they are in the Sound games. I’d like to see this changed to where they are hearing the name of the object on the card every time they tap on it. Yes, this might get old after awhile so let’s include the option to turn it off. My thinking is that it would be helpful for early readers to hear the names of these vehicles, numbers, animals, etc. My last suggestion is to automatically advance children to a new game after they complete one. Right now they must exit out to the section menu and choose another game. I think it makes for a smoother app experience if another game starts right up.

The matching games themselves work great and my 4 1/2 year old enjoyed the Sounds section and the Vehicle games. Little Academy is a free app, with the option to purchase several additional games, so the great thing is you can download it and let your child give it a try without spending anything.