TinyHands Raccoon Treehouse, by Tinyhands Apps Educational Learning Games for Babies Toddlers and Kids, is a delightful and very comprehensive early learning app. There are 12 activities to keep early preschoolers engaged, both onscreen and off screen. So many of the activities directly relate to everyday routines – where you need to match, sort, and apply logic to problem solve in order to help complete daily routines. Each of the twelve activities has a unique quest and feel, and I love its understated demands for action. Building attention, the ability to visually discriminate, classify and place objects logically, as well as identifying and applying comparative terms and within a natural environment are all pertinent goals for the mini games.
Let’s take a look at The Treehouse and see what’s up. It seems this family of raccoons is having quite the time of it. The challenge: to get them organized (honestly things are quite a mess and they need our help). Four different activities encompass the skills of matching. The activities include matching shapes of everyday objects to a silhouette, recognizing shapes and patterns in both negative and positive space, and discriminating and placing novel formations of tile to a wall. They are all graded in complexity and designed with the intent to carry over skills to everyday life. The matching activities in this app are a great springboard for center based play. Playing a round of “Pairing the Silhouettes” can easily precede hanging matching socks in the home center. “Matching Polycubes or Shape and Patterns” can precede stringing beads or making block designs from a model. By using both negative and positive spaces for object placement, kids expand their idea of what constitutes a form and its relation to the surrounding space. Matching and sorting activities are all critical discrimination skills needed to navigate oneself safely as well as learning early decoding skills.
Sorting colors, shapes and learning to grade sizes are up next for the residents of the treehouse. Why is sorting important? Well, it helps kids organize their world and this makes information more readily available. If we know that food is found in the fridge, it makes it easier to know where to go when we are hungry and need something to eat or drink. That ability to organize helps to drive planning and the ability to take action. And successfully taking action builds confidence.
The Logic puzzles are really what make this app rock and take it from a classic early learning app to one that teaches kids how to think. The logic portion progresses from making a whole from its parts with a familiar construct such as building a toy truck to figuring out what goes where from an odd assortment of objects in a room. To play, you need to have an idea of what the rules and order of a particular task are, and then test out your theory by taking action.
There is no negativity in the treehouse, wrong answers just don’t stick. This helps to gently encourage kids to try again by reinforcing their success at the task. If a child should become stuck there are prompts to help guide them on what is expected. I really appreciate all the effort and thought that went into the making of this app. It is very apparent that the developers want children to progress by naturally scaffolding the demands. The illustrations are engaging and fun while also having a nice cozy comfy feel of home. It is hard not to pitch in and help out this family. Options to turn off music and sound are available for kids who are sensitive or distractible. I would definitely recommend Raccoon Treehouse for both general classroom use or in working one on one with a child.
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 every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.