Learning to tell time is an important skill for preschool and early elementary school age children and Telling Time with the Smurfs is a fun new app for working on this skill from Cupcake Digital. The app includes 4 sections: Learn, Read, Practice and Play, it works on telling time using analog clocks and shows the link between analog and digital clocks. In this app the child can listen to a story about a day in Smurf village, interact with the Smurfs, learn about the fundamentals of telling time and practice their time telling skills in a variety of activities.
Music, narration and sound effects volume can all be individually adjusted. The app has no adverts or in-app purchases. There is a parents area behind a parental gate with Social Media and appstore links. There are also “more apps” buttons on the front page, the links from these to iTunes are protected by a parental gate, but I would like them to be only available in the parents area to stop kids pestering for more apps.
In this section the child learns what a clock is and how it tells time. They learn about the numbers on a clock face, where they are and what they mean. They learn about the hour hand and practice setting the hour to the correct time. They then learn about the minute hand and practice setting both hour and minute hand. If they need help pressing the “?” will show them the correct hand position.
This simple story tells the tale of a single day in Smurf Village from the time the Smurfs wake up at 8am to bedtime at 8pm. The child gets to see the Smurfs daily routine hour by hour and in each scene gets to practice setting the clock to the hour. They can get help if they need it, and correctly setting the clock unlocks animation and interactive elements in the scene, these do not work until after the time telling activity is completed on each page. The interactive elements are easy to find as they are marked with sparkles. The interactions add to the story as the child gets to feed the Smurfs and help them with chores, cooking, gardening and other activities. There is a page navigation guide that lets the reader easily return to favorite scenes. At the end of the story there are some suggestions for ideas to help the parent talk about the story and and time with their child.
Here the child gets to practice setting the clock, they are given instructions orally and see the required time digitally. If they move the clock hands the digital clock automatically moves at the same time to show them what digital time they have set. If they need help pressing the “?” will show where the hands belong. They get to practice 10 times in one game. As children typically learn to tell time to different degrees of accuracy at different ages it would be nice to be able to choose a level for this activity e.g. easy- telling time to the hour, intermediate- telling time to the quarter hour and advanced- telling time to the minute.
In this game Smurfette is flying on the back of Feathers the crane and she needs your help to fly Feathers through the right clocks. The game has 2 difficulty levels- easy and hard. With the easy level they have to choose the right clock from 2 choices each telling time to the hour, and tap to get the bird to fly to it. In the hard level they need to pick from 2 clocks showing time to the nearest 5 minutes and they also need to use more fine motor skills to fly the bird to the correct clock.
Telling time is a really important skill for young children to master, and is worked on in both preschool and elementary school. Telling Time with the Smurfs is a fun way to practice working on time telling skills. I like that it has a variety of different activities to work on time telling skills, and that in the story the child has an incentive to practice telling time as it unlocks some fun interactions after they work on this skill.
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).