Bla Bla Box by Marbotic is a iPad only app that lets kids explore how letters make sounds and form words. The app is designed for preschool through early elementary school aged children and is available with five different languages. When you move the letters onto the screen from the bottom, the letters are sounded out and as you form words they are spoken aloud. It is helpful for emerging readers – my emerging reader used it to spell out some words in his library book before asking me what the word said. The app can be used stand alone or with a companion wooden toy that allows you to put the letters on the screen. The app is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch with some of the languages requiring an additional in-app purchase.
To use the app, you pull the letters from the bottom where they are listed and put them up in the middle part of the screen, Each letter is sounded out as you put it on the screen and if you run low on space, you can click the word as it is underlined and move it over toward the edge so you can finish it. Once the word is completed, you simply click the underlined word (or letters) and pull it to the top of the screen where it disappears. The app is great for emerging readers who may do “creative spelling” or helping kids to break down sight words or even those who are creating shorter words and then learning to add endings like ing, ed, en to help understand how it changes the sound of the word.
I really liked the flexibility of the app – you could create a word and then lengthen it easily to include a new ending or move around the letters entirely to make a new word. If you accidentally pulled in a letter you could put it in the trash can and start anew.
In terms of enhancements – I wish the words would align left when you place the first letter on – sometimes when we worked on longer words we ran out of space on the tablet even if the word was not fully spelled out. I would also like to see a place where the words you have spelled out go to because right now when you drag them to the top of the screen they disappear.
There is no advertising, a gated parental area has external links and is accessed via a math problem from the front page.
Overall, this is a fun app for practicing spelling of words. I liked how it encouraged my son spell out his sight words and work on his creative spelling when he heard that the words were spelled differently than the sounded. It has external links that are protected via a parental gate and bright colors and illustrations which encourage kids to interact with the app.
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
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.
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.