Mini Prep

Mini Prep

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Mini Prep is a low-key, gentle app that will help the very young practice basic skills of color matching, number matching and number order, letter matching and letter order. The app is simple to use and will help the young users feel very successful.
4.3

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Mini Prep offers very basic games and instruction in each of three areas of early learning: color recognition, numbers 1-10, and alphabet.  Each activity includes a teaching mode and a more challenging mode to test skills.  The action, sound effects, animations and corrections are all very low-key and relaxing.

Features include:

  • Three learning activities
  • Scaffolded presentation designed to ensure success
  • Simple, intuitive controls
  • Provides vital repetition of skills
  • Gentle, non-disruptive correction for mistakes

Quality

Mini Prep is a high-quality app that is well-suited to its intended audience of toddlers and preschoolers.  The app is simple to use and does a nice job of reviewing concepts then providing opportunity to practice them.  Developers did an outstanding job of making characters diverse and of keeping the app low-key so it is soothing to play.

Education

This app features three learning areas: colors, numbers 1-10 and alphabet.  Each activity begins with a review of the concepts and then moves into a randomized challenge where children have the chance to apply what they have learned.  The color activity presents a color and names it out loud, then has children find and pop bubbles of the same color on a randomized board.  The numbers activity has users place numbers onto a number line, first in order, then presented randomly.  The alphabet activity is similar, sharing letters, sounds and key words/pictures first in alphabetical order, then in random order.  The narrator sings the ABC Song between rounds.  The numbers and letters activities use a drag-and-drop action to place the figures into the correct positions.

Mini Prep seems almost too simplistic.  It would be improved by the addition of a few more challenging activities that users could unlock as they master the beginning skills.  For example, the alphabet activity could continue on by having children find the letters requested orally or by having users match letters with the given key word pictures.  The number activity could be extended by presenting the numerals without the guiding number line and having users put them into their proper places.  As it stands, the activities are limited to simple matching exercises, which are fine for the very young or those having difficulty, but the app is not likely to “grow” with users in any way.  Another slight drawback is that the activities are presented in the same order over and over again.  For example, the color matching exercise always begins with green, then moves to blue, and so on.  It would be better if it were not so predictable.

Parents should also be aware that the app is narrated in British English, so the letter Z is called “zed” and the zebra is called a “zeb-ra” (with a short e).  Some children may find these differences to be a bit distracting or confusing.

Entertainment

In a world of noisy, demanding apps, Mini Prep is quite the opposite.  It’s very low-key and quiet.  This will appeal to some young learners, and bore others to tears.  On the plus side, the avatars available for children to choose to use are ethnically diverse, which is a nice change of pace.  The gentle buzz that indicates incorrect responses is also nicely done-it’s noticeable enough that children will realize that they have made a small mistake, but there are no penalties or other obvious problems when they do so.  The item simply resets so they can try again.  Correct responses are rewarded with recorded applause and limited movement of the avatar that simulates jumping up and down as best an immobile character can.  In fact, it seems that the variation in narration and the reward sequence are the only reasons to have avatars at all-they don’t do much.

Value

Mini Prep is inexpensive, but not quite free.  Most children are likely to work through it fairly quickly, perhaps in as little as under 30 minutes.  It would be a good investment for a family with several kids in the right age group, or for a group setting.  It would also be a good app for students with special needs or those who are struggling with these basic concepts.

Child Friendliness

Mini Prep is extremely child-friendly.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

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