Futaba Classroom Games for Kids, by INKids, has introduced a powerful concept for the iPad, engaging multiple players in fast-paced games for the classroom or home. These games, which vary in content, can be set to a specific skill or set to randomly display a mix. All by a simple visit to the settings menu.
Presently they have a pre-k section with animals, shapes, transportation, and “things.” There is a K-3rd-grade math section, geography, and Dolch sight words. Also, they offer First Spanish Words and Japanese for beginners to learn the language. You can easily add your own content and create your own game based on any theme you choose. This is an amazing option for teachers to implement and customize to whatever they are studying. INKids is now asking for teacher and parent input and plans to expand the game selection. There are plans of adding different learning sets, as well. David Wingler, a teacher at Osaka Kunei Girls’ Junior and Senior High in Japan, is responsible for the original idea.
What makes this game such a STANDOUT is that kids "play" cooperatively and it’s FUN. The competitive edge can be used to promote academic growth. The developers decided to focus on children’s apps, believing that the iPad would revolutionize the way we think about the use of technology in early education classrooms.
Futaba has the game set up with players on each side of the iPad, each side is a different color with the option to join the game. Play starts when the dial in the middle of the board displays a question. Each player is given four possible answers and the first to touch the correct answer scores. With every four correct answers, the player is given a giant but very friendly seedling. Futaba is a Japanese word meaning “seedling” – the game is designed to help kids grow vocabulary in any language. Whoever gets three seedlings first is the winner and another game begins. As teachers, we think that this multiplayer format is just right for the elementary grades and will be a huge hit in classrooms lucky enough to have iPads.
In this day and age, the value of play-based learning is being recognized as an important piece in a child’s education. Skills like taking turns, sharing, teamwork, problem-solving, and collaboration are integral in any education. The importance of socialization skills is major and we commend INKids for incorporating these skills into their app. Futaba offers schools the Volume Purchase Program. Futaba Classroom Games for Kids is a "Must-Have" for any classroom! For other multiplayer apps see TWA's review of top ten app developers, some of these developers are including multiplayer options or have apps that are easily shared with another student or two.