Monki Home – Language Learning for Kids and Toddlers, the welcomed addition to Monkimun’s early learning language apps, has preschoolers discovering familiar items within their daily routines. Whether learning a new language or exploring objects and tasks in your native tongue, kids build confidence through experience playing in environments they interact with on a daily basis. Kids love role playing and helping out, and should be given “jobs” at an early age to help teach responsibility and pride in their work. The app is offered in 3 languages; English, Chinese, and Spanish. There are 4 rooms to explore, and all our Monkmun friends are there helping guide the way. Using the characters from the other Monkimun apps give everything that comfy cozy feeling and that makes the tasks lest daunting and puts kids immediately at ease. Along the way children are exposed to fresh vocabulary, different grammatical phrasing, questions and requests for action. The graphics in all of Monkimun’s apps are cheerful and uncluttered, and make the intent of the task clear. Thankfully, music can also be toggled on and off also to reduce input, and narration is well paced to give kids the time and space to process the content.
The kitchen is loads of fun, and you never know who’s in the kitchen as characters rotate through the rooms. It’s very smart – as it keeps kids coming back for return play. In the kitchen, kids not only learn to identify both familiar and unfamiliar foods, but to also follow multi-step directions. In the picture Lisa, the cat, wants a steak cooked in the pan. To do so, little ones must go to the fridge, open it, retrieve the steak, and place it in the pan. After fixing up something tasty, feeding it to Lisa is just pure joy. This is a great little module for those picky eaters you have on caseload as the characters model not only healthy eating requests, but also model eating the foods. Personally, I would love that blue refrigerator, and would welcome it to help make-over my kitchen.
In the laundry room with Billy Bird, kids load, add soap, and turn on the washing machine. Then, they hang up the laundry, and iron it. This segment teaches kids about what is involved in taking care of their clothes, and that they don’t just “appear” in their dresser drawers or closets. As with all the play in the rooms, it is an easy transition to off screen activity and real life experience. After playing the app, have kids, unload the dryer, help match socks, or fold towels. In our school, teachers often have a helper for such tasks, and the kids love to be chosen to help. This is really an important lesson to us all. Many times we are so task driven, it is easier to do things ourselves, and we forget that by not including children in routine everyday tasks we not only make them incompetent, but do not attribute to their sense of inclusion and accomplishment in the world around them.
Brushing teeth, taking a shower and drying off are all good starts for reinforcing good hygiene. Each task is depicted in proper sequence without too many steps to follow. Often kids who are resistant to teeth brushing or taking baths, need to work out the sequence of what’s happening to them. By giving them control both in play within the app and in real life, will often help them transition because they know what is going to happen. Apps are a fine way to present social stories and learn about tasks that are sometimes hard to perform.
Lastly, it’s time to sleep, and Cowie and Elliot need to do some clean up in their bedroom so they can start fresh in the morning. Here clean up presents opportunities for comparative language – Big/Small, Full/Empty, etc. Once the room is clean, it’s time to get the last of those wiggles out in a dance or two. It really is funny watching the characters dance. Elliot, the panda, really has some slick moves! Then, its lights off and nighty-night for our tired friends, and we tuck them in and wish them sweet dreams.
If I had a wish list for future updates, it would be to have the option to turn off the ad on the homepage in settings, to be able to click on objects and characters and hear their names, and to be able to set the difficulty level without deleting or redownloading the app. These are all minor issues, and do not detract from the intent of play.
Monki Home is an endearing app with familiar characters that begins to help kids learn about their world. By giving items in each space a name and a reference point of how the world works, kids learn the sequence and rhythm of everyday life. Many times, we assume kids know the names of things and how they work, when in reality they do not. This often times prevents them from taking action or exploring. I remember when my now grown son was young, he did not know the name of a book case, and called it a book holder. I was shocked! I am now grateful to companies like Monkimun that are so dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children. Check out Monki Home or any of the other Monkimun Apps.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.