Monster Day: Play at Home Game for Preschooler by Highlights for Children Inc., and in collaboration with the genius of Colto is pure joy! The app follows the activities of a little monster across the span of a day. Based on Piaget’s pedagogical viewpoint, kid’s alternate between being the monster’s caretaker to role playing and performing activities from the monster’s point of view. The app not only portrays daily activities but also begins to allow children to take on another’s perspective. From sun-up to sunset daily routines are reinforced and presented in a playful manner maintaining healthy choices and consequences of actions.
There are 15 different screens to interact with, including both the home and school environments. Meals, playtime, and lessons are open to exploring and interaction and give kids the practice of transitioning from one activity to another. It also outlines that daily routine has a definite beginning, middle, and end – marking off subtle cues that teach temporal awareness. This is a life lesson presented in a delightful, yet fun-filled package. On opening choose one of five monsters. All are adorably rendered in a color block style that’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Here, by keeping the artwork simple and without visual clutter keeps the focus on the task at hand and helps to refine motor responses by making objects easier to target. Screen interactions are integrated with the given task but still allow for repeat cause and effect play. Music can be turned off on the home page and can be under a child’s discretion. What better way to teach self-monitoring and the ability to self-regulate, by allowing this to be under a child’s control? Then it is time to:
- Wake up Little Monster, it's time for breakfast! Feeding the monster is one of
the hands down favorite. Tip: point out how dirty his teeth get with eating, and whether he is making healthy choices.
- Time to get washed up, brush your teeth, and get dressed. Nice touches to notice are that Little Monster has a pretty healthy diet, with just an occasional sweet. His teeth must also be brushed for a proportionate length of time to be clean too, modeling good hygiene.
- Don’t dawdle and miss the School Bus! At school, mining for gems keeps little hands busy. Can you find all 5? Check out the bulletin board for the answer. Learning how to shift gaze
improves ocular motor skills and readies kids for reading, writing and honest attention to detail within the environment.
- Plant a seed and watch it grow. Fabulous for opening discussions on where we get food, and the life cycle of a plant. There are a few more science experiments to discover; one being a big blast and another popular screen for little ones.
- Time for lunch! Can you catch an apple or a burger? This screen ups the visual motor challenge by targeting a moving object.
- Recess monster style is next with a pillow fight (with counting over one hundred) and a “Whack a Monster” game. I would love to see the “Whack a monster in a future update, possibly have a color matching aspect added to the challenge, so that kids would need to visually scan and inhibit their impulse to whack every monster that comes up. A short game of basketball, and then it's time for home.
- After dinner, it’s off to a nice warm bath, brush your teeth, and then to bed. For kids that are sensitive to having their hair washed, this screen is a nice way to practice the sequence of events and decrease their anxiety. Tuck him/her in tightly – and a wish for sweet dreams.
Bottom line: This is an app filled with fun and is sure to delight little ones. Our little testers loved it with its familiar routines that they could identify. It reinforces a toddler’s time spent on a given day and is not so packed with actions that younger ones become overwhelmed by the input. There are no IAPs but there is a link to the app store for other apps under a parental gate. A TWA Top Pick!
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 in 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 has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.