Highlights Shapes-Preschool Learning Puzzles offers toddlers and preschoolers a chance to practice matching shapes, colors, and sizes by dragging colored shapes to outlined sections of the screen. The app is virtually wordless, except for the narrator naming the attributes of each object when it is correctly placed.
Intuitive to use
Develops sorting, categorization, and other readiness skills
Incorporates fine motor skills
Provides a safe, ad-free environment
Improves matching skills
Highlights Shapes is a very high quality app that is easy to use for even the youngest toddler. Developers did a fine job of focusing just on the tasks at hand, and of scaffolding more difficult tasks by presenting plenty of practice on easier skills first. Players will easily be able to understand the tasks and to accomplish them in the no-fail environment. There is a parent section that explains some of the importance of the skills addressed.
Toddlers and preschoolers typically are very interested in colors and shapes, and learning to match, sort, categorize, and identify these are very important pre-reading tasks that all young children need to master. This app will help even the youngest players get started on these reading readiness skills. Children need to learn to manage skills such as sorting, matching, and categorizing before they can learn to distinguish letters and words with slight differences, such as b and d, or cat and can.
This app uses a no-fail system, where an incorrect shape (or color) cannot be accidentally dropped into the bay reserved for another item. This means that children must place the shapes correctly, or they will return to their original position. There is absolutely no chance of confusion because of the way this app is set up to work.
Highlights Shapes is a very relaxing and soothing app to play. The quiet background music sets a mood of concentration without undue anxiety. The app has several sections in the first level (the part that is available for free), with variations in scenery and focus, which will help children to maintain their interest. Developers mention a “story” being told in the app, but I’m having trouble seeing it. It might be good, if that is the intention, to be a bit more obvious in the visual telling so children realize there is meaning to the pictures other than a change of scene.
Hightlights Shapes is free to try on the App Store. The free version includes level one of the game, which goes over four shapes and a few colors. When level 1 is completed, users have the opportunity to purchase 2 additional levels, bringing the total to 11 shapes and 11 colors. Users can also repeat level 1 as desired.
Highlights Shapes is very child-friendly, with effective parent gates on all links and adult areas. However, the in-app purchase that becomes available following completion of level 1 is put on the screen as soon as level 1 is finished. There is also a “more apps” link visible on the home screen that children could click into, but that they cannot access due to the gate.
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The free version of Highlights Shapes-Preschool Learning Puzzles does a good job of offering practice for toddlers and preschoolers to match, sort, and categorize 4 types of shapes and colors as they solve puzzles by sliding the correct shapes into the matching areas on the screen.