Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Elmo Loves ABCs

Elmo Loves ABCs

Spring 2012 Mobile Apps
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Contributions From: Jessica Yin
Developer: Sesame Workshop
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad
Review:

Elmo's not the only one who loves these ABCs. When your little learner opens the app and selects play (an easy to find, large green button), Elmo will enthusiastically greet her. "Oh, hi! It's Elmo," he says. He then prompts the user to pick a letter to get started.

Choosing a letter prompts Elmo to pronounce it. He then asks children to trace the letter by following a clear, dotted yellow line. Next, three objects that begin with that letter are revealed. A slider on the right of the screen lets children choose whether to watch a video about the object (represented by a camera), color a page containing it (represented by a crayon), or search for it on screen (represented by a magnifying glass). Elmo pops on screen, points to the objects, and encourages kids to touch one. All of the videos are Sesame Street favorites, and the coloring and finder activities are simple, but rewarding.

After he's become acquainted with the alphabet, have your child tap the star in the lower left corner of the screen to play a game with Elmo. Elmo pronounces a letter and asks the user to choose it from the four capital letters on the screen. Next, he asks the child to find the lower case version of the same letter. When the letter is correctly identified, Elmo pronounces the sound it makes. Next, four images appear on the screen. Elmo clearly pronounces each one, and asks the child to touch the image representing the word that starts with that letter and sound. Tapping the correct image is rewarded with a classic Sesame Street video featuring that word. Throughout the game, Elmo affirms that he is happy to be playing with YOU. Also, if the third stage of the game is too challenging for young ones, he reminds them that they can swipe the screen to skip that question.

Personalizing the alphabet is easy. Choose a word, record you (or you child) pronouncing it, and record a video and photo of it to include it in the game. Including a family pet or favorite food could make the game even more exciting. The app also provides fun, useful stats to track your child's progress. Select ABCs Tracker to learn your child's favorite letter (the one they've clicked the most), favorite video (the same), favorite activity (drawing, videos, or searching), and the average amount of time they play the app each time. You can also see which letters they've successfully traced and what percent of the time they've done so accurately.

The app takes full advantage of the interactive learning possible with an iPad, and children will surely learn lots with a guide as helpful as Elmo. And one last note: Don't forget to tap the music note in the bottom right of the screen for an absolutely delightful animated video and song that will take your child on a fantastical tour through the alphabet.

Parents' Choice   ©2012 Parents' Choice

Look for this product at:
Sesame Workshop
http://www.sesameworkshop.org
Available on iTunes

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