Avast ye maties, I think there’s some coffer for the wee ones in Lipa Pirates and their companion game app, Lipa Race. As part of Lipa's Curriculum Design, each app highlights different aspects of development to educate and prepare children to interact with the world at large.
This is one company that does their homework and solidly stands behind their product. Check out their web page for more information here. Tap on a game from their suite of apps to learn more about the goals and objectives of a particular game. In addition, Lipa provides off-screen activities to enable kids to translate what they have learned in the apps to the real world and daily routines.
Lipa Pirates focuses on 4 out of 8 of their identified Learning Areas: History and Culture, Autonomic/Executive Functioning Skills, Physical Wellness and Academic Competence. So let's take a peek inside, but watch out for that Kraken! She’s a sneaky scallywag.
Seventeen missions await your aspiring pirate. The goal is to retrieve the treasure long hidden by a ghost and protected by a “Kraken” or Sea Monster. First, off is building the ship. Activities involve tracing shapes to cut out pieces to build a ship, selecting the crew and stocking the larder.
Although the initial challenges are tracing and matching games for early learners, the tracking needs to be relatively precise to cut the shape. When a child is ready to use a writing utensil, this is a perfect point to introduce a stylus. There are also nice challenges to cross the midline to help kids to connect and use both the left and right sides of the body together and in opposition. This incorporates rotational movements to meet the demand, and by "playing" a preferred activity, kids learn both through their bodies and brains more readily. Sophisticated movement patterns using smooth coordinated movements easily translates in other areas of basic routines and academic skills such as reading and writing further on down the road.
Core Math skills such as shape recognition, spatial orientation, and topographical navigation (or how one navigates through space), are presented within the levels. These skills help set the ground for a consistent and able learner through the use of the visual, auditory, and movement systems to work in conjunction with each other. Challenges get harder as the game progresses, but with practice, most 3-5-year-olds that have played the game will have mastered it through repeat play.
Gameplay is infectious and all out fun. Who can resist a well-done Pirate theme? The pacing of demands versus rewards is perfect and facilitates repeat play as most of our testers could not stop! Rewards include playing the map game, receiving treasure and other swag to outfit your pirate, and at the end is a first rate diploma! Lipa has also suggested the next game in the sequence of games for play in their free Gateway App. I also love how shapes come in a variety of modes – fish, food, and gemstones to elicit shape recognition in everyday objects used in daily life. There is an option to turn off music and sound for sensory sensitive kids in the settings.
So where do the 4 aspects of Lipa's Curriculum Design enter in?
- History and Culture: Learning about a life on the seas and how that culture plays a part of history facilitates a need to go to the library or online to find out more. Why not have Pirate parties complete with a treasure map to navigate throughout the house or neighborhood? Dress up with a geocache would prove loads of fun, and set up kids for a lifetime of organized thinking and action.
- Executive Functioning/Autonomic skills are present to practice experimenting, problem-solving, making decisions, and thereby learning the consequences of one’s actions. Although these skills develop fully later in life, early practice will help place down pathways for success in the future.
- Academic Competencies lie in the heart of the gameplay. Core math skills as mentioned above are ever present on each level. Learning about shapes and their practical life relevance help kids view the world in an organized manner.
- Lastly is Physical Wellness. While tracing with your finger or dragging and dropping may be skilled kids have already accomplished when playing Lipa Pirates, upping the demands to using a stylus teaches tool use and appropriate grasp. The game within the app Lipa Race is also a stand-alone game that facilitates the crossing of midline and topographical orientation – of starting at point A and arriving at point B. This sets up the beginning of using a reference point of where you are and where you want to go. This is the beginning piece of praxis or motor planning. It would be fun to increase competencies while playing on a balance board or another uneven surface.
In summary, Lipa Pirates and Lipa Race are fun options for your little ones to learn basic spatial concepts and improve basic motor skills of sequencing, problem-solving, and visually crossing midline. It is challenging for the 3-5-year-old set, but also fun playing the race game against friends and foes for siblings and older kids. It has all the aspects of an early learning app that promises fun and learning to sequence and for that: at TWA we raise the Jolly Roger and salute! A TWA Top Pick.
*(Translation for you landlubbers: Listen up friends, there is some treasure for pre-schoolers found in Lipa Pirates and their companion app Lipa Race).
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps have been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.