Helping kids learn about shapes is a popular topic in the world of children's apps, and many developers have tried their hands on creating an app that is both educational and fun. Some apps that we've reviewed in the past and quite liked are Shape the Village, Jake's Never Land Shapes and Patterns, and My Geometric Universe.
Today, I'm going to introduce an app that, despite being a new release, has quickly shot up to become one of my favorites for learning about shapes. It's called CyberChase Shape Quest, and is based on the Emmy Award-winning animated show Cyberchase from PBS Kids.
Playing With Shapes
Aimed at kids ages 6–9, CyberChase Shape Quest! is an inventive game for building basic math skills, namely geometry, spatial reasoning, and problem solving. The app is hosted by popular characters Buzz and Delete, and features three multilevel games: Patch the Path, Hide and Seek, and Feed the Critter.
In Hide and Seek, kids strengthen their knowledge of geometry by finding the animals hidden behind a range of shapes. Both verbal and written instructions are given at the beginning of the game, after which kids may take their time to find all the requested shapes.
As with all multilevel games, the challenges get more difficult with time. In the higher levels, kids are no longer instructed to find rectangles or pentagons, but “all the shapes with five corners” or “all the right triangles”, for example. Hide and Seek has 25 puzzles divided into 5 levels.
In Feed the Critter, kids learn about spatial recognition by trying to flick food across a maze of obstacles the room to a critter. As kids pull back on the food to flick it, a dotted line appears which predicts its trajectory. More points are awarded for fewer flicks, which can be challenging to achieve in higher levels as more food and obstacles are introduced. The game has 25 puzzles divided into 5 levels.
The third game, Patch the Path, involves fixing a path by rotating and dropping the correct shapes into the empty spots, so that Buzz and Delete can march through and take their animal friends home. They also need to catch the animals and place them in the duo's cart. There's an interesting twist though: the game utilizes AR technology which combines real world with 3D digital content.
To play, kids must first prepare a printed-out game board (either in color or black and white). They then point the device's camera at the paper as instructed, and the virtual game board will appear on screen. As kids play, they may move around their body around the game board (in fact, they are encouraged to do so) to better position the shapes or get a better look at the environment.
Unlike the other two games, Patch the Path is a timed game. The sooner kids clear a puzzle, the more points they score. The game also introduces various bonuses, for example resetting the timer and freezing the animals in their places, which adds variety to the gameplay. Patch the Path has 30 levels set in 5 different environments.
Parents Need to Know
CyberChase Shape Quest! is a fun and educational app suitable for elementary kids. Verbal and written instructions are available throughout the app, thus kids should not have any problems navigating the app on their own.
Before handing the app to your kids, make sure to prepare the Patch the Path game board first. You can download the printable board on PBS website here, and print it in color or black and white.
CyberChase Shape Quest! is available for free on the App Store. It has no ads and no in-app purchases. If you are interested in downloading the app, please keep in mind that it only runs on devices with a rear-facing camera.
You might also be interested to know that Cyberchase Shape Quest is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Ready To Learn Initiative, a program that supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families.
Things I Like
Like other apps from PBS Kids, CyberChase Shape Quest! is exceptionally fun and educational. Each of the game has its own merits, although Patch the Path takes the gold prize for its solid implementation of AR technology. It actually plays well and doesn't feel gimmicky, which is a huge plus in my book.
Another thing that I like about the app is its positive tone. It never punishes kids for choosing a wrong answer, but provides them with hints and encouragements instead. There is also a constant stream of praises whenever kids successfully solve a puzzle.
My only issue with the app is that in Patch the Path, you are supposed to be able to remove an incorrect shape from a spot. In my experience though, this was rather difficult to do. Often, the shape would not budge when I picked it up, so most of the time I would just restart the puzzle to avoid losing too many points. It's not really a deal breaker, but I would love to see the issue fixed.
Another great production by PBS Kids. With 80 challenging puzzles readily available, CyberChase Shape Quest! makes learning about shapes fun. The Patch the Path is exceptionally noteworthy for its solid AR implementation and challenging gameplay, even for adults. Overall, it is a highly recommended app, and considering the price tag (it's free!) there is no reason not to try it out.
CyberChase Shape Quest! is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
Like the app? You'll enjoy these:
- Shape the Village Gets Kids Learning About Shapes
- Learning Shapes and Patterns with Jake and the Never Land Pirates
- My Geometric Universe Teaches Kids to Draw Geometric Shapes