AppStore User Rating:
Kid Awesome Kindergarten makes players into heroes as they rescue puppies and kittens by completing language arts and math activities to boost kindergarten skills. With video-game flair and style, this fast-paced, glitzy app is sure to be a favorite!
- Contains a full year of language and math skills for kindergarten
- Adaptive technology that allows progress when students are successful
- Flashy graphics, great sound effects, and motivating music
- Fast-paced game play that will keep young learners engaged
- Progress chart to show strong skills and those needing work
Kid Awesome Kindergarten is an outstanding app. Developers have incorporated features that not only make it easy for young children to use, but that also will really motivate them to come back again and again. The high quality graphics rival many video games, and the music is exceptionally motivational, as it mimics the theme songs of the super hero genre of cartoon shows. The visual directions for children are easy to understand, and the activities move at a lightning pace that is sure to capture and keep nearly any child’s attention.
The one feature that does not seem to work as intended is the adult option to open all content before players have completed each level. Choosing this option in the parents’ section activates two options above the map that claim to unlock content, but tapping those links does not really unlock the content.
This adaptive app includes an entire year’s worth of skill building activities at the kindergarten level. Students who are successful move to new levels, while those who have difficulty accomplishing the tasks can continue to work on the tough ideas or even go back and review more familiar material. The app features activities for both language arts and math, though these seem to be in two completely different sections, so it’s a little cumbersome to switch back and forth. Each of the subject areas is tied to a different story: the language arts exercises move a story related to rescuing kittens and the math exercises develop one about rescuing puppies.
The main activity finds the hero racing through city streets at increasing speed with a goal of choosing the correct lane to match the answer to the problem that is narrated and pictured at the top of the screen. The graphics are typical of racing-type video games, and are highly stimulating. Once all five tasks are completed for the level, players get to chase through the streets collecting coins by scooping them up while jumping over and ducking under obstacles. Between races, the app provides some calmer moments as players practice skills to collect “boosts” that add to their superpowers during the race, such as a rocket booster that allows them to fly during coin chases.
One possible drawback to this format is the attractive nature of the game play. For some students, it can be a bit distracting, and the typical response is to race blindly without trying to solve the problems presented. It may take a while for your student to understand that racing with some thought toward accomplishing the tasks yields higher rewards. For that reason, the calmer sections that review the skills are very valuable, but it is possible for kids to bypass these sections in favor of the racing.
The activities are tied to Common Core Standards for kindergarten, and truly do represent the full range of curriculum in the areas of language arts and math for the entire year. There is a scoreboard of sorts included in the parents’ section that outlines which skills the child has mastered, which are in process and which are weak. Records are only kept for one user, however, which will limit the app’s usefulness in a classroom or family setting with multiple children where record-keeping is important.
This app is intrinsically motivating for young elementary students. The racing format is similar to many commercial video games, and appeals particularly to children who have a high need for stimulation. The graphics are exemplary and the theme music is exciting and motivating as it even sets the stage for each story.
Players can customize the look of their character by choosing different faces, different clothing and so forth. Coin collection sections are offered after successful completion of five exercises. Coins can then be exchanged for additional boosts to make the character more powerful or extra options to customize the player’s character.
Update 1/9/15: Since our review the price of this app has increased significantly, please check app store for current price. At the current price of $14.99 we no longer feel this is a good value.
Kid Awesome is a great value. Because of its high replay capacity, children will come back to it again and again, building skills as they go. It will be useful for older preschoolers who are preparing for kindergarten, children who are actually working to master the skills, and those who are preparing to move on to more challenging things but still need a bit of review. The one drawback is that children must play through each level to open up the next, so a child who does not need to review the beginning skills may become a bit bored before reaching concepts that are yet to be mastered. It would be nice if adults could unlock higher skills for these types of students. The parent section contains an option to “unlock all content,” with a caution that this may not be a good idea for your student. However, choosing that option does not seem to do what is advertised. The map section (which shows the levels for each subject area) has active options to “unlock to level 8” and “unlock to level 18,” but clicking either of these does not change the activities available on the map. Hopefully this will be rectified in future updates of the app, because it is an important feature.
Kid Awesome Kindergarten is child-friendly. There are no outside advertisements and no in-app purchases. There are no links to social media. A protected parents’ section includes explanations of how content was chosen and why it’s important, as well as the company’s privacy policies, contact information, access to sign up for the email list, and links to other apps by the same company. The Parent Gate is a good one, requiring users to respond to a multiplication problem written in words instead of numbers.
The app does have a pop-up that asks users to rate in the App Store that appears during game play, which is not good. Children will find that distracting and puzzling, especially if they can’t read well enough to understand what is going on. It would be much better to put the rating option within the protected parents’ section. There is also a link to see other apps from the developers on the home screens. It is protected by a parent gate, but probably does not need to be so visible to children, either.