Finding good quality Christmas-themed apps is not an easy task. I have been trying my best over the past few days, but there’s not many I can find. I suggest checking out our recommendations from last year: Christmas Song Machine, Don’t Open Before Christmas, and Moving Christmas. For a more recent list, I recommend Helen Dineen’s curation.
Now, out of the several good Christmas apps that I did find, today I want to highlight the one that is unique: Pili Pop Christmas. It is a new Christmas-themed app based on a very successful app: Pili Pop aka Babble Planet. Pili Pop is a great app for ESL students ages 6+ to learn English. Using four cultural-themed levels and interactive mini games, juniors can practice their English speaking and listening skills.
Four Christmas-themed Games to Learn English
Pili Pop Christmas consists of four mini games that revolve around Christmas-themed activities. Just like in the original app, juniors can learn about numbers, colors, fruits, vegetables, and clothes by playing the games. Two of the games require juniors to identify objects based on verbal instructions, whereas the other two games require them to practice their English speaking by identifying numbers and colors.
In the first game, juniors are asked to help Mary dress her friends by dragging the matching outfit according to her instruction. Juniors can learn to distinguish a winter coat from a jacket, and slippers from shoes. In 90 seconds, juniors are asked to get as many correct answers as possible.
In the second game, juniors help Santa find the right house by pronouncing the house number out loud. The app will use a speech recognition algorithm to identify whether juniors are pronouncing the house number correctly. If they are, the app will move Santa forward to the next house.
In the third game, juniors are asked to help Chef Nicholas find the ingredients for his Christmas recipes. Juniors will see all types of ingredients from bread and rice to apple and tomato. Juniors are required to identify the items that the Chef requested through his narrations.
The final game lets juniors practice their speaking by identifying the colors of Christmas gifts that are about to be wrapped. Juniors are required to pronounce the name of the colors that match the gif boxes.
Parents Need to Know
Similar to the original Pili Pop app, Pili Pop Christmas also provides video instructions, a Pili Book, and a set of pronunciation guides to help juniors learn how to say the English words correctly.
A Pili Book is a special interface for juniors to learn all the words used in each game. For example, juniors can learn how to pronounce 20 words in Mary’s dress-up game, such as belt, boots, gloves, and scarf.
Even though the app is designed to help ESL students ages 6+ to practice their English, it’s also great for native English-speaking juniors ages 3+ to practice their speaking and listening skills. The app’s speech recognition technology allows juniors to record their voices as they’re trying to pronounce the words shown in the book.
When the pronunciation matches the speech recogniser’s pattern, a “Very Good” stamp of approval will be awarded. This can be used to motivate juniors to practice their pronunciation. My four-year-old Philip is really excited whenever he gets that stamp, and he is motivated to try getting the stamp for all the other words as well.
Things I Like
Two things that I like from the Pili Pop series are its ability to recognize my Indonesian accent quite accurately and support for multiple accounts. After a bit of training, my sons can now select the accounts that I have set up under their respective names. This makes it easy for me to track their progress in the games.
Pili Pop Christmas also includes an Advent Calendar where juniors can learn about 25 new Christmas-related words, such as gingerbread, snowman, reindeer, and candy cane. My only wish is for these words to be included in a special Pili Book where juniors can record their own voices and see how close they match according to the speech recogniser.
Pili Pop Christmas is a great example of developers adapting their flagship app to create a new Christmas-themed experience. By giving away this app for free, it allows parents to download it, get a full experience of the app, and perhaps consider purchasing the original version. I highly recommend letting your juniors play with Pili Pop Christmas this holiday season, and purchasing the original version that contains 24 games and 350 words including body parts, family members, sports, plurals, and adjectives.
App was suggested for our honest review.