Elastic Alphabets for Kids by Pratik Machchar is the new app on the block to simply mesmerize young children with the uncomplicated concept that kids can relate to, line drawings. Noun after noun of child-friendly words is illustrated and accompanied by surprising animations. An apple transforms into an arrow and ultimately leads to the letter B, a balloon pops and out comes the letter C and so the app unfolds! The kids we worked with were glued to the screen and there were giggles galore, but this app isn't all fun and games - it is a wonderful reading readiness tool to get children acquainted with the alphabetic principle. This clever application is a great way to introduce the 26 letters of the alphabet and then reinforce them with a variety of words and pictures that are all relevant to a young child's life. That academic approach combined with the silly cartoonish antics make a product that children will return to again and again, shelf life is an important factor here in the app world. The narrator gently asks the child to touch the screen in some way if the screen stays idle for too long. These simple suggestions, after ample wait time, help children learn to follow directions and are an important part of the functionality of this app. For instance, the child may be given the verbal cue to "swipe down" or "drag me" which reinforces the concepts involved in directional awareness. These verbal cues also draw the child back into the game, this incites engagement after the instructions are followed. All of the words start with the most commonly known initial consonant sound and short vowels sounds are represented. This makes the app appealing to preschool and primary teachers and there are no IAP or ads to hinder the learning experience. The control settings are minimal but do give quick switch options for mode of play. Our favorite feature in this app is the imaginative variations that the artist has taken to transition from one letter's animation to the next letter. The surprise actions of the quirky Gigi character and the zoom in and zoom out give this app a personality all of its own. We would like the developer to give the kids a chance to trace the letters on their own after the initial introduction. (Kudos, the letters are formed properly with the use of guide arrows.) Also, another suggestion would be the addition of more interactivity driven by the child, this would add a new dimension to the app. Overall, this app is a big hit!
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.
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