Kids will love helping Mama Monster teach social graces to her misbehaving brood. Each monster has a bad habit, but there is hope for everyone!
Eight monsters with bad habits
Two word games and a coordination game for each monster
Choose English or German versions
Monsters Behave is a delightful app that will have most children rolling on the floor with laughter while it delivers gentle reminders about good manners. The app gives good oral directions combined with visual cues so that even young monsters can enjoy the games. Everything works smoothly, and the monsters are so incredibly ugly that they are cute. Their bad manners are the only scary things about them, and your child can help them learn to behave.
Kids will learn a lot from playing with this app, and parents will adore the lessons. It covers all manner of social skills that young children sometimes need reminders about, from blowing bubbles in your drink to belching at the table. In the interest of full disclosure for those with sensibilities about such things, the word “boogers” does come up a time or two. In short, the developers have covered just about every bad habit that a child might consider and then counters all of them with positive suggestions for behavior.
And manners aren’t the only things being taught. Each monster presents two playful language learning games and an entertaining poem with two verses (one about the bad habit and one about the positive change). The first game offered for each monster is a rhyme-recognition game. The poem’s first stanza is displayed and read aloud with the final rhyming word missing and unspoken. The user is presented with three possible endings. Two of them make sense linguistically and two of them rhyme correctly, but only one word fits both qualifications.
There are a couple of sets, however, that seem a bit too difficult for the target age group, such as in the Leer Monster’s poem, when users must choose between “there” and “everywhere” “Everywhere” is correct, but either would make good sense. As far as I can tell, the only clue to this right answer is a deeper understanding of the rhythm pattern that has been consistent across the other poems. In another example, children are expected to forego one true rhyme offered for “eat” by choosing “handkerchief” instead of “treat.” That’s awfully tough for youngsters in the target audience! But correction for errors is so gentle that children are hardly likely to feel bad if they do make mistakes on these toughies. On the plus side, this app will also build most youngsters’ vocabulary. Poems include some wonderful words, like “ludicrous.”
Monsters Behave is enormously entertaining! Most kids have at least a secret fascination with the gross and disgusting, and of course almost all children have at least one objectionable habit or know someone who does. The illustrations of the young monsters are all unique and animated. The poems make up what they lack in uplifting content by being very vivid and descriptive, demonstrating lots of ways to paint detailed pictures with words. They contain some great examples of figurative language, too. The final game of the three-game set for each monster leaves the language learning behind for some arcade-style action. Users are challenged to use two fingers to make swipes as quickly as possible to score points. Each game uses the same basic movements, but the trappings are different enough that the children will enjoy them when they unlock them for each monster.
This app is a good value at just over $2.00 U.S.D. There are twenty-four activities all together, and it will take kids a bit to play through all eight monsters. It’s also entertaining enough that many children are likely to play several times. It would be nice if there were a way to reset the app, especially for younger siblings or new players, but even shutting the app down doesn’t do the trick. Once the games and levels are opened, they seem to be opened for good unless one were to completely delete the app and re-install it.
Monsters Behave is very child-friendly. There are no outside advertisements, no in-app purchases, and all links to the App Store, email, and the internet are well protected behind an effective parent gate. A verbal prompt suggests that children go play games instead of accessing the “boring stuff for parents,” and users must solve a two-step math problem involving multiplication followed by addition. To further complicate access, the input screen with the problem shows three blanks that would mislead young users into entering three characters instead of the required two.