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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Kids Corner Review: Dotty Shapes

    My daughter loves connect-the-dots type puzzles. At least she does know. She used to, but would get confused after getting to the number 10. Now she can count higher, and likes doing them on her own.

    So when I saw this app, I thought "wow, a connect the dots program for the iPhone!". Except it really isn't.

    This program, on it's most fundamental level, is a connect the dots program, but it is designed to try and teach kids about shapes (and even letters and numbers). Rather than have simple pictures, each "connect the dot" image is a specific shape - square, star, circle, triangle, etc. And as you can guess, connecting the dots for some of them is pretty, well, basic. (Three dots to create the triangle, for example). So it certainly wasn't the program that I was looking for.

    Having said that, if you have a child you are trying to teach shapes, this program might help you. The lines are connected simply by tapping the numbers in order (or you can switch to letter mode, and tap the letters of the alphabet). However, from my experience, a child is generally going to be more likely to learn basic shapes BEFORE they will be able to recongnize the various letters and numbers in order....so I don't know how useful it is to teach a child shapes based on them knowing numbers or letters. Maybe I am wrong though.

    It would be nice to see some more advanced puzzles that a child can draw, or even just some generic pictures.

    The app does have a fair amount of options you can adjust. Aside from the previously mentioned number/letter switch, you can change the color of the lines you are drawing, you can erase and start over, and you can cycle back and forth between any image.

    My main concern is just the lack of...complexity in these images. Either you are trying to teach basic shapes to your kids - how probably can't recognize the numbers or letters. Or you are trying to teach numbers and counting to kids...who already know what a triangle or a square is. The shapes that are offered are extensive, but you can't even have various difficulty level settings. The goal and the application don't seem to jive with each other.

    Pros: Simple interface, straighforward controls
    Cons: Not sure if the program would actually benefit any kid

    All in all, I would generally suggest passing on this program, unless you think it will really benefit your child. What the program is trying to do, and how it is trying to do it don't seem to match up very well. It is free right now, so give it a shot if you want, but for the normal price of $.99 I would say pass. Two out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benfits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

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