Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles is a delightfully simple app for the very young. It teaches counting one to ten using an animated e-book format as well as spatial skills using virtual jigsaw puzzles.
40 illustrated pages
9 full screen jigsaw puzzles of characters
Sound track and sound effects
Two modes of reading
Hidden rewards for exploring pages
Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles offers simple, reinforcing fun for toddlers and preschoolers. The 20-page e-book encourages children to count from one to ten, and the jigsaw puzzles are great for building visual/spatial and fine-motor skills. Each page contains a simple icon to indicate return to the home opening screen and to repeat the play on the page. The app is easy to learn and use, and entertaining for the very young with elements of mild, pleasant surprise that are perfect for cementing concepts of cause and effect.
Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles is a great tool for encouraging children to count, interact with words, and use fine motor and visual/spatial skills to solve problems. The e-book introduces delightful monster characters with friendly names and strange, memorable faces. Each has something that needs counted. The introduction page includes a simple sentence about the character and its corresponding number, and when touched, the numeral appears with a voice-over saying the numeral’s name. Turn the page, and children have an opportunity to count for themselves by touching the item presented on the introduction (eyes, legs, and so forth). The app developers left little room for doubt about where to touch to activate the color-coded counting-there are animated circles marking each hot spot. These can be touched in any sequence and the numbers still will appear in the correct order, which is a wonderful touch! There is no way that a young child could be confused by hearing an incorrect counting sequence.
The e-book offers two modes for handling the text. One puts the child (or adult helper) in charge of reading, and the other reads words aloud for users when the words are touched. This is a great feature for children who are on the path to emergent reading and want to “read” independently. Pages also include hidden surprise sound effects for children to find and enjoy, encouraging connections of cause and effect as well as memory for where the sounds came from.
The jigsaw puzzles mimic the wooden frame puzzles where large, colorful pieces are slid into place in an outline. Young children will have fun guessing which character will appear while exercising their visual closure skills. Fine motor and other spatial skills will come into play as kids slide the puzzle pieces into place. It is impossible to place a piece wrongly-the incorrectly placed pieces fall away from the puzzle to encourage young users to try again, and snap into place when they are in approximately the right places. The puzzles range from 3 to 6 pieces in complexity, which should allow even the youngest users to be successful with the activity.
Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles is a very cute app. The sound effects and pleasant background music add to its appeal, but if the background becomes distracting, the home screen contains a speaker icon that can be used to turn it on and off as desired.
The opening pages of each number in the e-book contain hidden surprises that trigger sound effects and small animations when touched, adding to the play value of the app. The monsters all make pleasant trilling sounds that most children will find appealing, and their bright colors make them attractive while their unusual differences (extra eyes, arms, legs, tails and so forth) make them just funny enough that children will adore them.
The jigsaw puzzles can each be reset, which will be helpful for children who choose a favorite and wish to use it again and again, or those who like to practice new skills. None of the pieces need to be rotated in any way, but simply slid into place using a drag-and-drop interface. This means that even the youngest players should find quick success.
This award-winning app offers a lot of value for the $2.99 investment, particularly if it will be useful to several children. It’s likely to become a favorite with friendly characters and fun activities.
However, the content seems a bit limited, and it’s possible that children, particularly preschoolers, may tire of the e-book and simple puzzles pretty quickly. The description on its homepage indicates that users should watch for “free updates and extra content,” so it’s possible that developers are planning some additions that will extend the app’s useful life. Hope so, because this was the only drawback I could see.
Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles is as child-friendly as it can be. The app contains no outside advertising and no in-app purchases. There are no links to social media, email or the internet. The interface is remarkably intuitive and easy to use, and should prove no challenge at all even to the youngest users. That’s a great feature, when the user can concentrate on having fun and learning instead of trying to figure out how to get the program to operate.
Cutie Monsters-Jigsaw Puzzles is an entertaining app that will captivate the youngest Ipad users and teach them several important skills while they play.