Talking ABC from HEY CLAY is a universal app for iOS and Android, designed for children aged 2-7 years. It not only teaches letter names, sounds, and animals beginning with each letter, but also includes six mini-games. The app is child-safe with no adverts, in-app purchases or external links.
The app has 3 parts – Alphabet, Song and Games. After a recent update there are now 6 different learning games in the game section. In the app settings you can choose to work on letter names or sounds, you can also adjust the difficulty of the games and switch the “Talking” feature on or off.
This is the main section of the app and the child can go through the alphabet in order or pick individual letters to work on. Each letter is crafted from brightly colored clay. Touching the letter makes it turn into an animated clay animal whose name begins with that letter. The animals include some common ones such as a Bear and Lion but also some unusual ones including Vicuna and Xiphias (a swordfish.) If the iPad is in landscape mode the letter (or animal) is on the left, and the right shows the full alphabet. In portrait mode the letter or animal fills the screen.
The name (or sound) of the letter is spoken when the letter appears and the name of the animal is written and spoken when the animal appears. The claymation critters are animated and will make sounds, some also play with accessories such as throwing a ball or blowing a pinwheel. If “Talking” is on, the animal will repeat back what the child says to it, and each animal has it’s own unique voice. I love the talking feature, it can be a fun way to encourage a toddler to talk, or an older child to practice words or letter sounds for speech therapy. I did occasionally have problems with the animals not picking up that I was speaking, or missing the beginning of words. It would be nice to have a option for a manual way, such as pressing a button, to trigger the voice function instead of relying on it happening automatically.
In the song section a female singer goes through the alphabet singing the letter and animal names. This is accompanied by an animation showing each of the claymation letters turning into their animals as they are being sung about.
All the games feature the claymation animals and/ or letters from the main part of the app, and work on skills such as letter recognition, sound recognition, animal names, spatial recognition and memory.
This game works on letter, or letter sound, recognition. The child is presented with six clay letters and asked to pick the correct letter to match the letter name (or letter sound) that is spoken. If they get it right the letter turns into its animal, who praises the child. If they get it wrong the letter turns into a ball of clay and they are encouraged to keep trying.
This is very similar to the letter game but this time they need to pick the right animal out of 6 choices. It is a fun way to learn different animal names but is best played after they are familiar with the app as it does include some unusual animals they may not have previously come across.
This section is good for kids of all ages to practice typing their name or any word. They type it on a QWERTY keyboard and it appears as clay letters. Touching the clay letters turns them into animals. It is a fun way to get children working on learning to spell their name and other familiar words.
This consists of 25 puzzles, the first is unlocked and the child has to solve them in order to unlock the next puzzle. Each puzzle has a picture of one of the claymation animals divided into 6 or 12 squares, depending on the difficulty level chosen. Tapping on a square rotates it, the child rotates each puzzle piece until the animal is complete. Once they solve the puzzle there is cheering and the animal talks to them.
This is a classic memory match game – the child first gets to briefly see where the animals are before the cards are flipped over. They then need to correctly find pairs of animals. It has 3 difficulty settings with from 12- 30 cards.
Who Is It ?
In this game the child has to work out the name of an animal using the animals as a clue. At the top of the screen are a row of animals and a row of jumbled letters is at the bottom. There are boxes in between to put the letters in. If the child matches each letter to the correct animal they will spell out the name of one of the animals from the app.
I must admit I have a soft spot for claymation, I’m a long time fan of Aardman studios- I grew up with Morph and loved the Wallace and Gromit movies. I think claymation is a great medium for inspiring children’s imagination and I love it’s bright vivid colors. Talking ABC is a great use of claymation to inspire kids to learn whilst having fun and features a cast of 26 brightly colored, cute, engaging interactive animals.
There are many, many alphabet apps on the market today and developers need to do something different to stand out from the crowd, and Talking Alphabet achieves that. It is a fun creative way to have children work on their alphabet, letter sounds, memory, animal names, and word- letter association. I love all the different claymation animals, they are bright, colorful and engaging, each has its own voice and personality. When this app first came out in 2013 I described it as “One of the most engaging and innovative ABC apps on the market”, with the new games and updates they have made to the app since that time it still deserves that description today.
by HEY CLAY
Price: $2.99 USD
*** App Store Best Kids App 2013 ***
Talking ABC is also available in a variety of other languages and for a limited time the French version is FREE ! (Please check price before downloading)
by HEY CLAY
Price: $2.99 USD
*** Meilleure application pour enfants de l’App Store 2013 ***
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.
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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).