Bottom line: a standard push-to-talk vocabulary app for kids up to age 3 or 4. Also useful for SLPs, ESL teachers, and other professionals teaching receptive and expressive language skills. Available in English, US English or Spanish.
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Animal School: Leo y Sus Amigos:
The folks over at Egmont Kids Media Digital A/S have done a swell job at making vocabulary accessible and approachable for tots in their app Animal School: The Deluxe Vocabulary Game, and its Spanish version, Leo y Sus Amigos (Leo and His Friends).
Absolutely no reading is required in this vocabulary app, which makes it perfect for the littlest of learners to navigate "all by myself!" (becase isn't that how they want to do EVERYTHING?)
One thing I love about this app is that, at face value, it's just a cutesy little app for toddlers. The premise is this: Your tiny-fingered person can flip through six themed pages. Jungle/zoo animals, instruments, toys, farm animals, pet animals, and fruit. After your sweetheart presses a picture that is to his liking, the name of the item is read and the sound it makes is played. Short, sweet, and to the point.
But wait, there's more.
Slip this app into the hands of a speech therapist, ESL teacher, or any other kind of "I work with words
and your kids all day long" professional and you've got a gem! This app can quickly become a lesson in . . . well . . . lots of things. Receptive language, for instance, which is having the kid point to the monkey when you say "point to the monkey," is just begging to be taught with this app.
Expressively, this app is just as useful. Picture naming, categories (which the picutres are oh-so-conveniently divided into), requesting, and formulating sentences are just a few things this app could help to target during therapy.
For the ESL teacher, or parents encouraging their children to learn a second language, Leo y Sus Amigos is where vocabuary learning happens. (Honestly, I kind of wish I'd had Leo y Sus Amigos while I was learning Spanish for the first time in high school.) It's simple, basic, and easy to understand. Repetition happens at your student's control, and it can even be used for self-checking answers. Having both an English and Spanish version line up so closely is ideal for bilingual-in-the-making kiddos.
The graphics used are fairly true to life, while still cutesy enough to appeal to the younger, and I mean WAY younger, crowd (the app's description in the App Store says it's written for kids up to age 3). A few animals have some new colors I've never seen before, but it doesn't distort the representation of the image. The app is in British English, so some of the objects may be labeled in ways that are unfamiliar to a U.S. audience. What we would call a pacifier, for instance, is labeled a "dummy." This doesn't detract from the quality of the app, but it's good to know going in.
So, to wrap it up: a cute app with a good variety of vocabulary words in each of the six categories, which offers all kinds of exposure to new words. Having a sister set of matching Spanish and English versions of the app opens doors for new users, which I haven't seen before in an app, and rather like. And it gets points for being useful to SLPs and other professionals. So why didn't I rate it more highly? Because in the end, as useful as it may be for speech therapy, it's still just another cute animal app in a sea of animal apps. A little more interaction with the pictures could be a lot of fun and might do a bit to set it apart from its competition — I'd love to see that in an update.
If you're after word-learning in a simple, easy to use format, especially en Espanol, enroll in (or just download!) Animal School.
Rachel happily spent the afternoon digging in the dirt and planting flowers with her mom from out of town today. Ice cream absolutely followed. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.