“With so many educational apps on the App Store, there’s no limit to the learning possibilities at your fingertips. iPad inspires creativity and hands-on learning with features you wont find in any other educational tool-on a device that students really want to use. Powerful apps from the App store like iTunes U and iBook’s let students engage with content in interactive ways, find information in an instant, and access an entire library wherever they go.” (Apple Website) Through the use of iPads and Apps in our classrooms and school community we are providing our students with opportunities to further their learning. With the use of Apps students, who range from being in the Gifted Challenge programs, to those who are non-verbal in Autistic Support can all access the iPad to obtain Apps that are educationally appropriate from Nursery School through Post-Graduate studies. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. Known as the #1 preschool game in the Apple iTunes App Store, this game allows young children to learn while helping monkeys pack lunch. Through its seven games, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox teaches students:
· Colors: The monkey only likes fruit of particular colors; touch the color the monkey likes to pack in the lunchbox.
· Matching: Match pairs of fruit to pack for lunch.
· Counting: Count the fruit the monkey is looking for to fill up the lunchbox.
· Letters: The monkey only likes fruit that start with certain letters; pick the fruit that starts with that letter.
· Puzzle: The monkey’s fruit broke into pieces; put it back together for him.
· Spot the Difference: Help the monkey spot the fruit that looks different.
· Shapes: Help the monkey spot the fruit in different shapes.
This app is designed to help preschoolers learn names of colors, what the colors look like, grouping, numbers and counting, letters and letter sounds, shapes and pattern recognition, and size differentiation through animated monkey characters and small token rewards. While playing this game is helping to build students skills it is important to incorporate these skills on a regular basis and in the students daily life. Parents and teachers can help by providing the student with opportunities to count different items, identify colors around the house or classroom, and labeling shapes. Some of the subjects and skills addressed through this app include Math (counting), Language Arts (following directions, letter or word recognition), Thinking and Reasoning (memorization), Problem Solving, Creativity, Emotional Development, Communication (listening), Collaboration, Responsibility and Ethics, Technology Skills, and Health and Fitness.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox Screenshots:
In order for me to give my best possible review of this application I had to download, play, and have one of my students play on this app. When I first opened the application a silly monkey greeted me with bright colors and songs. There was no home screen; you just immediately jump into the game and activities. The monkey walks the student through the different activities, celebrating when a correct answer is given and shakes his head when an incorrect answer is given. The game continues to cycle through the activities stopping occasionally to award the player with stickers before continuing again. Because the different activities are randomly cycled through students cannot memorize and parents can select activities that would be best for child because all are crucial to child’s development. Directions presented are clear and easy for children even of a young age to follow. Some activities may take a couple times to play to get a better understanding but are typically easy for children to pick up and jump right into. To test out the application I chose one of my mid-level students to get the most beneficial feedback. I sat with them while they played. In the beginning they were so excited about playing and watching the monkey they needed some redirection. Keep in mind we don’t have ipads in our classroom they are not used to using this technology unless they can access the device at home. After some redirection the students was very engaged in the game and understand the direction clearly. They were excited to see the monkey cheer and dance when they got the correct answer and understood when they were wrong. Our students are just learning their colors, shapes, and numbers, so some information was more familiar than others. But this is a great way to introduce the information in informal settings. When the student got to the reward section and sticker board they were so elated to pick a sticker. I can only imagine how excited they would be to share and even compare with other students if they were all using ipads. After a few cycles I turned the game off and asked the student what they thought. “This was fun” they replied. It was so fascinating to see how engaged the student was in an educational application. After the use of the application I saw the child being more aware of their surroundings and identifying different shapes, colors, and numbers around the room and hallways. If I was able to acquire iPads for my students I know this would be a great application to use with them. While all of my students may not be on the same ability level, this game works to the student’s strengths. Each student works at their own speed and improves their own skills, making it nice to use with all of my students. Another redeeming feature I found was that this application would work for my non-verbal students who are just not speaking yet. No verbal communication is needed for them to navigate and “play” this game. The children can still be learning from hearing and seeing without needed to verbally respond, in return enhancing their verbal communication.
In addition to my reviews I found others that agreed with my feelings towards this application. “Young children will think this is a game-but moms and dads will feel good in knowing its completely educational too. (www.bestkidsapps.com) “This app is a solid A/A+. I just don’t have a word strong enough to describe what a bargain this app is for $0.99.” (www.theikidsblog.com) “This app looks great, plays extremely well, and is just plain fun.” (www.appadvice.com)
I have found this to be a very useful application for my students and would recommend preschool teachers with student’s age’s two to four to use this as a tool in their classrooms for skill building activities for students with varied abilities. If we had iPads accessible in our classrooms we could use this application following circle time when we are doing activities to help enhance hour students basic knowledge of colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. What a practical tool to allow our students to use to help proliferate their skills while having fun and laughing together.