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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mindshapes launch: Hickory Dickory Dock iPad app review

A few months ago, I disliked the idea of letting Leon play with my iPhone- dismissing it as bad for his little brain and worried that he'd call/text/email someone he shouldn't, or delete a precious app. And my recently-won iPad? I'd hide it from him worried he'd toddler-bash it like my long-gone MacBook Air. But now, at 21 months, he's grown up so much and I trust him to be careful and well, he's become a little master of the touch-screen gadgets. I also saw the array of toddler-friendly apps and decided this would be the ultimate distraction for an upcoming long-haul flight. Truth be told, there were so many to choose from, I was a bit lost. Leon is familiar with many of the silly (though entertaining) talking cats or animal noises apps but I wasn't sure which ones would actually help him learn something.
Thankfully I was recently invited to the Mindshapes launch event showcasing some top-notch educational apps making learning fun from a very young age. Held at the fantastic Maggie & Rose children's club in Kensington, Leon and I were shown the range of fabulous apps from the developers and it was clear that they were expertly put together with fantastic illustrations and engaging content.

Hickory Dickory Dock £1.99 from iTunes app store (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Designed to help little ones learn to tell the time, this brilliantly illustrated app holds a different mini-game for every number on the clock that the player can explore. See what the big purple fluffy mouse gets up to at each number on the clock: from cleaning the dusty clock, lining up the correct weights to retrieve a chunk of cheese, get fed a load of fruit or sing and dance! The animation is really fabulous and it's not surprising when reading that Mindshapes' team members' hail from noted video game developers including EA, Atari, Sega and Eidos Interactive.

I'd recommend it for slightly older children as the objective is to learn numbers and the concept of the clock. However, as you can see, Leon certainly enjoyed discovering the different levels of the app with a concentration span of 10 mins on average.

It looked brilliant on the iPad, but I can imagine that the smaller screen of the iPhone or iPod touch would make it slightly fiddly.

The Mindshapes education expert explained to me how the apps were created with the national curriculum in mind so that they could potentially be used in classrooms across the country- wow! This may be more relevant to the apps aimed for older children such as the arcade-style game Meteor Math (6yrs+) but it's comforting to know there is a deep educational foundation to each app that Mindshare develops. Each one created using their 5 i's: Imaginative, Immersive, Intelligent, Interactive and Intuitive. And while I wasn't sure Leon would 'get' the app he was trying, I was reassured that at this young age, it's all about discovery. Since then, I've been downloading a lot more!

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a brilliant app. I need to upload some new ones.