Entering the field of ABC letter tracing apps comes Play-Doh Create ABCs! While there are many ABC apps available in the iTunes store, Hasbro’s first learning app stands out for its creative virtual use of the preschool favorite modeling compound, Play-Doh. In fact, my kids love Play-Doh so much that as I write this review in my combined office/art room/playroom, I see lots of specks of different colored Play-Doh all over our carpet…
Play-Doh Creat ABCs has three modes:
1) Write and Craft: Helps with letter and sound recognition
In write and craft, users choose a letter to make. Uppercase or lowercase is toggled by an abc button at the bottom of the screen. Once a letter is chosen, choose from many different cans of colored Play-Doh and then follow the path to trace the letter. The app lays out a path in Play-Doh dots; however I would love to see an arrow guide as well for longer letters (“M”). Tracing the letter correctly gives users a “prize” (tap to animate)! For the letter “C” the prize is a car…made out of Play-Doh of course! A cute verse accompanies each prize as well.
Now the real fun begins! Users have the opportunity to build their own car using their own choice of Play-Doh colors. Once done they are given the choice to “squish” or save their creations (don’t worry, both options save it for the next mode). Squishing lets users swipe down a few times to squish their new creation just like with real Play-Doh. Saving it brings up the next letter.
My testers loved making their own creations, however from my perspective (although it didn’t seem to bother the kids!) it would be great to first put all the pieces on the prize, and then have the Play-Doh color bar pop up and choose colors for each part. Going back and forth – placing the piece, choosing a color each time, seems to take a long time. This would also solve the problem we experienced where a tester wanted to change the color of a piece but couldn’t go back.
2) Create and Share: get creative with customized Play-doh creations!
Create and Share is a sticker type game. Choose from several different backgrounds and then get started sticking creations! For each letter completed in Write and Craft, the customized creation, along with the letter and a few extras, appears at the bottom of the screen. Place them, size them and give them a tap to see the animation come to life. Then snap a picture and share it with friends!
3) Letter Matching
This was a perfect activity for my soon-to-be Kindergartener. Choose a letter and match that letter to the right picture (choice of three). Tap the picture to hear its name for help. Then drag the letter to its match! For the letter “R” choices are queen, duck and rocket. Sitting with my 5 year old, she commented that this is a really good game for her.
The app accommodates three users. Among the options is toggle for music on or off, a how to play manual and a Parent’s Corner. All accessed in the main menu screen by tapping the bottom left corner. In the parent’s corner, parents can view the amount of uppercase and lowercase letters traced, objects crafted and letters matched for each player. To access this area, users need to type a birth year which prevents young children from easily accessing this area. I love this detail (though I didn’t give my
real birth year!) because it also prevents children from accessing the “more apps” screen which brings them to the app store. Aside from this protected screen, there is no outside link for children to tap in the app.
Play-Doh Creates ABCs is a great quality app with wonderful graphics. Our testers loved seeing their creations come to life with a tap and enjoyed being able to customize each letter’s prize with their own Play-Doh colors. We did notice that the app is a little slow to register and switch between modes (white screen) but overall the pace was good for the target audience. Kids who are learning upper and lowercase letters and sounds, ages 4 – 7 (and in my house toddlers watching the older kids also insisted on playing), will enjoy their very own Play-Doh ABC!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.