Available in the App Store

Oolly is the latest app dedicated to building motor skills and language recognition in the pre-k crowd. It’s helmed by an adorable narrator, aptly named Oolly, and, it turns out, it’s pretty fun.

How to Play

In Oolly your little one must pinch an item to pick it up, then move it across the room to the right place, with a little help from Oolly, of course. I think it’s interesting that the app requires a different motor skill than so many others. Pinching is a much more engaging action than simply tapping. I’m not sure how pinching translates to other things, like grasping a pencil for example, but anything that gets those muscles moving is ok by me.

It’s very important that you have the volume turned up when your little one starts playing the game. I made the mistake of having it muted initially, and ended up with a frustrated three-year-old frantically trying to drag items and telling me the game was broken.

Educational Appeal

Other than the motor skill reinforcement, Oolly is all about word recognition and the green theme of recycling. Since we already try to recycle as much as possible here at home, the paper and plastic sorting in the game was fun and familiar for the kiddos. I have to wonder what questions it would raise in a non-recycling household, though, and applaud the folks at Progressive Education for planting the green seed in young minds.

As for the language skills, Oolly does repeat the word for each item aloud once it is selected. I wish it would announce the word before it’s grabbed too, just for a little extra repetition. Once kids pinch the item it’s not always easy to see on the screen, so I wonder how effective this is for true language recognition.

Bottom line

Oolly is a well-made app with fun characters and sounds that could use a little bit of refining. Can’t wait to see what it’s like when the upcoming game additions go live!