While the weather is too cold for ice cream where most of you live right now, juniors can delight in concocting sundaes in Wombi Ice Cream. Created by the same developers who brought us Wombi Toys, this quirky digital toy lets juniors run their own ice cream truck and create delicious frozen treats.
I Scream for Ice Cream!
The app begins at the side of an ice cream truck, where cute animals dressed up as customers line up to get their hands (paws?) on the perfect sundae. Once juniors pull on the string to signal that the truck is ready for an order, a random customer will appear and indicate the kind of sundae that he wants in little speech bubbles.
To fulfill an order, juniors move to the back of the truck to start mixing the perfect sundae. First, they must choose from a collection of cones, cups and bowls. Then, they drag and drop a maximum of five scoops of ice cream into the cone or bowl before finally adding various toppings and garnishes.
Once the sundae is ready, juniors then must deliver it to the customer by dragging the dessert across the screen. If the customer is satisfied, coins will be deposited into the cash register. On the other hand, if he finds the sundae mix dissatisfying, he will frown and walk away without paying.
Just like a real business, the ice cream truck sees all sorts of customers with their own preferences. They can request various combinations of ice cream flavor, cone and topping, and even ask for specific ingredients to be excluded.
What Parents Need to Know
Wombi Ice Cream is a fun app that encourages juniors aged 4+ to be creative with their food. The app is language-neutral; there are no verbal or written instructions. Instead, it relies on visual cues such as nudges and picture bubbles to provide directions.
While the app is considered a digital toy, it is interesting to note that the app also provides some guidance instead of completely free play. Through various customers that request different sundae combinations, the app trains juniors to follow orders. There isn't a punishment system for deviating these requests, but the customers do express satisfaction or dissatisfaction based on the juniors' performance.
It is nice to know that while the juniors are expected to follow the orders, they are also given ample room to be creative. Once they have added the required ingredients and avoided the ones that are prohibited, they can use other things in their sundae mix.
In addition to good points, the app also has its weakness. The ice cream, as the main element in the app, are served in various flavors that have no pre-defined associations. As such, juniors must learn to associate the small pictures of fruits in speech bubbles with the colorful ice cream in the first row. For example, apple is associated with green, banana with yellow, and cherry with red. Without knowing this, first time users might be confused when they are trying to find the requested flavor.
What I Like About the App
As a digital toy, Wombi Ice Cream is a great app for juniors. The overall presentation of the app is appealing, and the theme is really junior-friendly. Eric's sons, Philip and Noah, loved the quirky customers and would excitedly call out the names of each animal as they walked into the scene.
Even if it is just by a tiny bit, I like that the app introduces kids to the concept of running their own business and serving the customers well. I like how expressive the customers get when they receive their orders, and how the app uses the appropriate sound effects to further emphasize their emotions. The catchy (and somewhat hypnotic) background tune also keeps the juniors engaged in the app.
If I may provide additional suggestions for the developers, I would ask that an order note be shown at the back of the truck so that juniors do not have to swipe back and forth to look up the requested ice cream combination. It would also be nice if I could position the ice cream scoops any way I want on the cone/cup, but it is just an adult concern as the juniors didn't seem to mind.
Wombi Ice Cream is a great app that encourages juniors to play. I like that it teaches juniors to follow orders while giving enough room for creativity. The app also has beautiful visuals, cute characters and an appealing theme.
Note: Thank you to the kind folks at Wombi Apps for providing us with the promo code for Wombi Ice Cream. We thought that it was really cool.