There are many apps for preschool and kindergarten (3 to 6 year old), that include every kind of activity, skill and game – some do it well, many times it results in chaos. Letter Muncher takes a different approach, it takes one language arts skill – learning beginning word sounds – and does it very well. When you need for a child to focus on a single skill, this type of app is perfect.
I loved the design of the app – it’s fresh, fun and appealing to kids without being babyish. The whole app is built with a “Let’s Go” approach. A big “play” button on the home screen leads the child straight to game play. The simplicity is wonderfully refreshing, but for a first time user, I would have liked to see at least the option of more visual and/or verbal cues.
The letter munching monster is very cute, but I did feel a little strange feeding it a baby – especially when it wouldn’t eat a chicken for “C”. Don’t worry though, it just wouldn’t eat a chicken because it starts with a “CH” sound and not a “C” sound. I think many kids and parents will get stuck on that – hence the need for more visual or verbal cues. You can turn off consonant digraphs in Parent Options, but the default is to include it. Once you get the hang of the app – and that it’s for beginning word sounds, not letters – this app is beautifully simple.
The Parent Options page is another good feature, although you are prompted to sign up for the optional email reports page first. You can skip this, but for me, I missed it the first time because I tend to ignore anything that looks like it’s asking me to join a mailing list.
Parent Options page includes the following features:
- Create up to 6 users
- Chose which consonants and digraphs to focus on
- Play in order or play randomly
- Show or hide labels
- Voices on or off
- Sign up for email reports (optional)
This app doesn’t have much ‘celebration’ type feedback or a reward system this is included in many other apps. I reached 11 levels without any other reinforcement except for the letter munching monster. There are two ways of thinking about this. My initial feeling is that this is the perfect in class app – it’s cute, simple and has fun feedback of the monster munching, without being distracting. The second way of looking at it is if you are trying to get kids to enjoy using it for fun, then I would recommend including some type of reward, celebration or “level up”. Once again, this is something that could be an optional setting in Parent Options.
At $1.99 for a universal app (looks and works equally well on both iPad, iPhone and iPod), this is good valued app.
There is always something that can be improved with an app, in this app I would like to see more visual and audio cues, a reward system and a better integration of the report sign up in Parent Options. That being said, what I love most about the app is it’s simplicity and I wouldn’t like that to change.
A cute letter munching character, and fun design, makes this a great app to help kids learn beginning sounds. With a few extras this could be a 5 star app.