Disclosure: This is a a sponsored post on behalf of CosmoCamp and MomSelect. I am thrilled to bring you this review of some great early literacy apps from CosmoCamp. All opinions are 100% my own, and not influenced by the company.
Parents want their kids’ screen time to be meaningful, but they also want the apps to be fun for their little ones. While some apps are nothing more than video games with mild entertainment value, there are educational apps that have the potential to contribute significantly to a child’s skills and knowledge.
The apps from CosmoCamp have many qualities that parents, but more importantly kids, will love. The focus of these apps is early literacy for children ages 2 to 5. Each app has two age levels from which to choose: Toddler (2-3 years old) and Preschooler (4-5 years old). The Toddler option offers shorter sentences and includes pictorials in the text with a word identification: fantastic for early literacy. The Preschooler option offers a greater level of difficulty (but not too hard), tackling more advanced concepts.
The first thing I enjoyed about the four apps I reviewed with my four-year-old daughter was their potential for meaningful together time. The interactive storybooks The Incredible Ride, Picnic Problems, and The Sweet Adventure follow the adventures of cosmic cute characters Migo and Pandy, a koala bear and a panda bear. Together they visit different planets, each offering its own set of unique experiences to which young kids can easily relate. My daughter and I read these as bedtime stories, and we had a blast together.
The storybooks can be read in three different ways: “Read Together,” “Read to Me,” and “Read Along.” In “Read Together,” the app becomes a regular storybook that the parent can read aloud to her child. The story is enhanced with music and sound effects, and each screen offers fun interactive opportunities for the child to activate the characters, objects, and even the background depending on the scene. In “Read to Me” mode, a narrator reads the story. This option works well if the child is using the iPad alone, or if mommy has a frog in her throat.
“Read Along” is the most fun. The narrator reads the story, but certain phrases are highlighted with a microphone icon next to it, allowing the child and parent to record their voices – fun and often hilarious to play back. The phrases can be re-recorded as many times as you would like and become a part of the story, replayed in this mode whenever the narrator arrives at those sections. In this mode, if the child chooses to stay on the page after the narrator is done, she can touch individual words, and the narrator will say them. This is one of the features that will help most with early literacy.
Each story is funny and offers moments that really bring the child in. In “The Sweet Adventure,” Pandy makes a mess mixing cake batter, “covering” the screen. The child has to wipe off the batter with her finger to reveal the next part of the story. At the end there is a cupcake recipe to enjoy making cupcakes from scratch.
Pandy and Migo are cartoon characters. The graphics aren’t extremely original or artistic in terms of their presentation, but their cuteness is engaging for this age level.
CosmoCamp Matching Games also offers the Preschooler and Toddler levels. I also played this one with my daughter. More accurately, she played it while I watched, and when she completed a task, she was beaming and wanting to show me what she had accomplished. The Matching Game is just like the Memory card game some parents might have played as kids. The virtual cards each contain a character face not revealed until it is touched. The child has to remember where each card is located in order to create a match.
I was sure I would have to explain the game to my daughter, but she caught on instantly and was having fun zipping through the games in no time. There is also a Hide and Seek memory game where hidden characters (shown only at the beginning) have to be discovered in the dark based on a character Migo is thinking about in the thought bubble. In Toddler Mode this game is simplified (a simple memory game is also offered in Toddler Mode). Pyramid is a more complicated memory game offered in Preschooler mode.
This game builds confidence and memory skills. Who doesn’t love that?
Overall, I can definitely recommend CosmoCamp for young children. When screen time is truly beneficial, it’s a win for parents and kids, and this time I am happy to report that it is.