Almost everyone needs some form of entertainment, regardless of your age. Some people consider TV as their source for leisure, whereas geeks like me tend to have a love affair with the Internet. If you think about it, our juniors also need some form of entertainment.
When an app developer is asked to create an app for younger juniors, they tend to come up with ones that emphasize on education. It's not wrong, but I also think that our juniors also need the occasional break from learning and simply enjoy playing. Other than Toca Boca, which is famous for their toy-like apps, it is rare to find good activity apps that can entertain our juniors.
Tizzy Seasons HD
Tizzy Seasons HD is an activity iPad app for toddlers which introduces the different seasons that people in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere can experience. Instead of presenting complicated tasks, the app chooses to use simple activities that your toddlers would be able to perform by themselves.
The app starts with a selection of two characters, i.e. a boy and a girl. The character selection will not change the activities drastically, instead it would just affect the main character used inside them. Alongside the character selection, you can choose any one of the four seasons to play with.
Within each season page, you will see a selection of five different activities that are suitable for that season. The winter page, for example, includes activities such as dressing for the cold weather; making a snowman; and connecting the dots to create shapes like snowflakes, candy cane, and Christmas tree. Each time you finish an activity, it will be marked with a star indicating that the activity has been completed. When you have finished all the activities for a season, it will be marked as complete.
What parents need to know
Tizzy Seasons HD is not an app that tries to teach your juniors any specific skills, such as letters, numbers, shapes, nor colors. Instead, the app offers a series of activities that we commonly see in other apps, but wrapped in four seasonal sets of activities. Your juniors will end up learning how to play jigsaw puzzles, connect the dots, sorting shapes by size, and other skills without realizing that they are learning while playing.
Some parents, myself included, tend to value cognitive skills higher than social skills. Fortunately, Tizzy Seasons HD offers various other skills that are also important in life, such as doing home chores, decorating and handcrafting creative arts (including preparing for your ice cream party), animal feeding, and gardening. I personally find this helpful and as valuable as other apps that aim to sharpen your junior's cognitive skills.
What I like about the app
If you pay good attention to the different activities that are spread among different seasons, you would find that some of them are contextually related. The garden is a good example of this. You start by planting the garden in the spring time and harvest your produce in autumn. This creates an opportunity for parents to start a discussion with your juniors on how certain things may take time to yield results, and that patience, love and care are very important to the outcome of any process.
Even though the app seems trivial at first, I am finally able to appreciate the activity design aspect of this app. As important as the implementation quality of an app may be, the activity design is also important. Sometimes I wonder why only a few developers have designed home chore activities, such as animal feeding, cleaning and decorating your home, and gardening. As the market for apps that provide training for cognitive skills are getting more crowded, it might be a good idea for developers to focus on other basic life skills that our juniors also need to learn.
Finally, as my experience with introducing apps to my 3-year old son, Philip, tells me, it is very important for us, as parents, to introduce as many types of activities as possible to our juniors. These activities will prove their values when you try to introduce them in real life. As an example, I have yet to teach Philip to fly a kite, and I believe this app provision a good intro for me to explain the concept to him.
Tizzy Seasons HD is a solid iPad app for your younger juniors if you're looking for apps with many activities in it. The fact that these activities are nicely themed adds opportunities for you to discuss them with your juniors, and revisit the app when the season arrives.
As a parent, I tend to demand app developers to create apps with explicit learning objectives for my juniors, but Tizzy Seasons HD has opened my eyes. My juniors also deserve their play time, and Tizzy Seasons HD is a great way for me to ensure that they are learning something while they're playing.
Note: Thank you to the wonderful people at Tizzy Labs for providing me with the promo code so that I can try the app with my sons.