Highlights Shapes Helps Kids Learn to Match and Sort Shapes and Colors

Kids learn to match, sort, and categorize shapes and colors in Highlights Shapes

Kids learn to match, sort, and categorize shapes and colors in Highlights Shapes

There is certainly no shortage of apps that teach kids about shapes and colors. The latest to join the circle is Highlights Shapes. Developed by Highlights (yes, the children's magazine) in partnership with Colto, the app takes kids on a relaxing journey through exotic locations as they learn and practice matching, sorting, and categorizing both shapes and colors.

Know Your Shapes

In Highlights Shapes, kids drag and drop shapes of various sizes and colors to complete a series of puzzles that are woven into story. Each puzzle builds on the one before it: drag two yellow squares together to make a brick, then use the brick to complete an ancient temple. Inside the temple, drag colorful shapes onto the offering table to clear the path, and so on. A narrator says the name and color of each shape name when it's placed in its rightful spot.

The app includes 3 puzzle packs, and each one is more challenging than the one before it. The first pack, the Ancient Jungle, is free and includes four basic shapes -- circle, square, rectangle, and triangle -- and eight colors. The Magical Underwater pack has seven shapes and 11 colors, and the Mysterious Space pack includes 11 shapes and 11 colors.

Parents Need to Know

Highlights Shapes is suitable for ages 2+. It's simple enough for kids to play on their own, and it has no text, so kids need not be able to read to use the app. Narration, on the other hand, is available in English (UK and US) and Spanish.

Unlike other apps from Colto, Highlights Shapes is a freemium app with one optional in-app purchase to unlock two additional puzzle packs. The link to purchase these packs are secured by a parental gate. The app has no third-party adverts.

The puzzles are woven into the story, and each completed puzzle sets off a short animation

The puzzles are woven into the story, and each completed puzzle sets off a short animation

Things I Like

If you liked the Shape Gurus app from Colto, you will like Highlights Shapes. The two share the exact same gameplay, but Highlights Shapes has new puzzles and story to keep things fresh. It's also just as charming to play: the graphics are vibrant and the audio track is clear and crisp.

The puzzles range from simple to slightly more complex, but still suitable for young kids overall. They present some unique challenges, for example, kids may need to recognize inner and outer shapes, or figure out which of the differently-sized squares will fit into a specific area. They also highlight how everyday objects are composed of basic shapes.

A minor flaw is that the narrator would not announce the name and color of some shapes. I also noticed that when kids move the shapes quickly, the audio would overlap. Still, Highlights Shapes is a nice app that does more than a decent job at introducing kids to shapes and colors.

The puzzles hold a fair amount of challenges for the targeted audience. For example, in this puzzle kids must recognize that the smaller triangle goes inside the bigger one.

The puzzles hold a fair amount of challenges for the targeted audience. For example, in this puzzle kids must recognize that the smaller triangle goes inside the bigger one.

Conclusion

I highly recommend Highlights Shapes if you're looking for a good app to introduce your kids to shapes and colors. It's engaging and easy to play, and also helps with critical thinking and problem solving skills. It's also free to download, so you can give it a try to see if it suits your needs.

Get it on the App Store: iPhone | iPad

App was provided for our honest review.