Oolly Educational Games
by Progressive Education
Recently Applicable2U was introduced to developers, Progressive Education. The members of Progressive Education make up a team of early childhood psychologists and communication clinicians. With their expertise, they have developed an educational app that can guide a variety of learning needs. At the beginning of this year, they recently launched a toddler/preschool app called Oolly App. For a simple .99¢ download, children as young as 2.5 years old will work on sorting various real world items as they build their “filing cabinet” of vocabulary words. In doing so, they will also be practicing and/or improving their fine motor skills. It was designed specifically for an iPad device running iOS4.0 or later. As we see more and more “little fingers” using some form of a mobile device, Applicable2U loves finding educational apps that make personal connections academically and socially.
When my son was younger he was obsessed with a fairy tale television show called Dragon Tales. Upon entering the main menu of Oolly Apps, this memory was immediately fresh in my mind. Main character, Oolly reminds Applicable2U of the friends in this show. Currently, Oolly App consists of one interactive, educational game: Sorting. However, you will notice two additional games coming soon, and two unknown games but will be made available in time. In talking with the developers, the new games will reinforce the development of a users fine motor skills. Our big question is…..will the new games be free upgrades or will it only be made available through an in-app purchase?
There are a number of features that Applicable2U likes about this educational app. With the wonderful resolution of the iPad device, those viewing Oolly App will notice the sharpness of the graphics. Whether your toddler is manipulating on their own or with an adult, navigation of the app is clear and concise. It provides users a great deal of visual and verbal reinforcements. As it integrates the use of large buttons, all hands will be able to make successful choices. Happily, children will want to play in Oolly’s dollhouse like home. Users can choose to play in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and even the great outdoors. A note to the developers – as a parent of a young child that uses a variety of Apple devices, we love educational apps that do not have advertisements or pop ups. With hands that sometimes “click to click” just to see what will happen, buttons like Facebook or Twitter may not want to be options that we give our children to tap. Might it be possible to put this information in the About section of the application.
Prior to playing, parents and their children will want to view the Help section. It is here that players will watch a brief video on the unique pinch motion that is required in order to sort or group items within each room. Whether you are the adult exploring or the target audience that is building, learning and having fun, practicing this pinching motion maybe a challenge. Regardless of which room you choose to visit, the pinching and movement skills of more than 70 new words/items will certainly come over time. Once the item has been pinched correctly, Oolly will then announce what the item is and can then be moved around the room. Unsure of where it goes? Don’t panic, Oolly will magically appear and will point you in the right direction. If your little one thinks they know where it belongs and it happens to be wrong, children are not negatively reinforced, items will just bounce back. Those items correctly placed within the room will reward the young sorter with something virtually yummy, an ice cream cone. In the lower left hand corner there is initially an empty ice cream cone shadow. With every correct answer, this empty ice cream cone will suddenly fill up with all the fixings. Be sure to visit rooms inside and out multiple times. Each return visit will share new vocabulary as it provides repetition as well.
Overall, Applicable2U would give Oolly App two thumbs up for its academic purpose and skill. On the go, your child(ren) will help Oolly organize his home, while at the same time beginning to plant the seed towards larger topics like recycling and multiple language development. As they sort papers and plastics in the palm of their hands, you might just see them making connections to their own lives. Children at this age are like sponges, extend this application one step further as they learn another language: English, French, German and Spanish. We are looking forward to those “coming soon” apps that it will provide in the future as well. If you would like to learn more about Progressive Education, please visit their website here. In need of developing ones fine motor and early mathematical skills, then begin downloading Oolly App from your iTunes library here.