fun app that teaches shape recognition allows you to build according to a pattern and practice fine motor and matching skills
What we’d love to see…
consistency across types of play – the way you spin a block in the free play is different from the easy play option
Great app for practicing patterns, inciting friendly competition and more!
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Blocks Rock by Blocks Rock, LLC was designed by high school students at The Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts as part of a high school entrepreneurship course designed to help students build real world business skills. The app was originally designed as a table-top game designed to bring educational, competitive and skills such as color matching, shape matching and recognition into an easily recognizable format from a card. The app is designed for children age 6 and up and includes a parent lock which I would suggest parents set up prior to allowing their child to use the app.
The app features a “free play”, “multiplayer” and regular game where you play against yourself. It features “easy” designed for younger children as well as “normal” designed for older children and adults. The free play mode allows you to build whatever you want using the shapes at the top and in addition you can spin the pieces with your fingers. The “multi-player” game allows you to play either “locally” or “globally”. The app does contain in-app purchases for additional backgrounds that can be locked out using the parent section.
I liked the parent’s zone which allowed you to set a password (although I would like to see the limits lifted), disable in-app purchases, disable external links, as well as see FTC/COPPA Regulations and Act4Apps all in a protected environment. Prior to being allowed here, you had to enter your password. Parents should set this up first and preview the app prior to letting their children use it. I liked the colorful app and that it let you pick “easy” or “normal” mode. The app displays a card which you need to match using the blocks from the bar at the top of the screen. This is slightly different in the free play mode but essentially the same. The learning curve for the app is small as you look at the card, match the pieces and you are off and building within moments. I liked the reinforcement “great job” and “try again” though hints might be helpful for younger users.
In terms of enhancements, I’d like to see the ability to spin blocks using your fingers like in the “free play” mode made available in the play game and multiplayer version. I think this is great for practicing fine motor skills and should be an option. I’d also like to see the multiplayer option be something you can lock out in the parent control as you may not want young kids competing against others. I would also like to see the ability to turn off the music in the parent section as well as when pausing the app so that all the controls are in one spot. I’d also like to see the “multiplayer” option shut off if you exit the app, currently if you go into that and don’t want to do multiplayer you have to shut off your device and turn it back on in order to exit that screen. I would like to see the “bell” which you hit after completing a puzzle looking more like a bell – or at least a traditional one perhaps it could light up when you have completed the puzzle to show you where to tap. It would also be nice if you could “buy” the package of backgrounds for one price or somehow disable seeing the ones that you do not own as children will ask for them. There does seem to be an error at times when choosing the multiplayer option if there is no other player available, but I am sure this will be fixed soon.
This is a great app for working on making shapes and patterns with younger children and inciting a fun competition for older kids. We had a great time testing out this app.
Category: Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
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wide variety of games which appeal to many ages; timer option which allows you to set limits on the use of the app; multi-player aspect as well as multiple languages
What we’d love to see…
ability to make mini-games customized to your child’s ability level; counting beyond 10; ability to save your progress and multi user options.
Solid game for children and adults alike, appeals to a wide audience with simple games like tic-tac-toe to other more difficult counting, memory, strategy and other games
Playground HD 2 is a new number app from Jan Essig designed for the iPad. The app is comprised of six mini games involving math such as tic tac toe, connect 4, shell game which involves finding a pearl, numbers which involves learning numbers from one to ten, Mills allowing you to play against the iPad and Mastermind which has you finding a color code. The app appeals to a wide audience ranging from preschool through adult especially for the Mills and Mastermind games which involve more strategy and higher level thinking. Jan started designing apps after he found that there were not many apps to teach his child the key concepts that were necessary for school.
Our favorite mini game was the counting which helped my son practice his counting skills in multiple languages. In addition, the tick tac toe was fun for us as well as finding the pearl in the shell. Having the timed option which allows the app to be open for a specific period of time was very helpful and that in conjunction with guided access allowed us to focus on a specific game for a specific portion of time before moving on to the next one. I also really liked the multiplayer aspect of the app which allowed for turn taking practice.
Some of the games contained within the app seem to be for children older than age 7. I would suggest having multiple levels of each game ranging from easy to harder to allow parents to customize the app to their children’s capabilities along with displaying the mini games which best meet their child’s needs. It would be nice for the games like Tick Tac Toe to get harder with more squares as the game is played to allow for more difficulty. Having multi-user profiles would be a nice addition as well especially if levels were built into the app. Incorporating a “help” or “how to” function might help younger kids who do not understand the written directions – even a quick video demo would be helpful for children on some of the strategy games. Adding to the counting feature and bringing it up to 50 or even 100 would make the game more challenging and provide an additional aspect of play. I did see a freeze at times when selecting mini games which required me to power off and then back on my device. It would be nice to be able to save your place for continuation of game play as well as a multi-player profile option.
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
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