Have you ever noticed how every thing in our lives are made up of shapes? Take for instance, the square windows of our house, the round clock on the wall, the slice of pizza we eat for dinner...
Whether we realize it or not, shapes are the prominent characteristics which we use to organize the world around us. Learning about shapes is a building block for developing other skills necessary in life, including math and reading. That is why it is important for kids to learn about shapes from an early age.
This is where our app pick for today comes in. Shape the Village by South Korean developer WiseKids is an interactive app which introduces young juniors to three basic shapes -- circle, square, and triangle -- through colorful mini games.
Shape the Village
Shape the Village comes with a short backstory: once there was a mad scientist whose failed experiment caused his whole village to crumble. The mission now is to help rebuild the village by participating in shape-based mini games.
After tapping the play button, kids will see an interactive map consisting of two screens, land and sea. Characters and buildings dot the map, and kids can tap on them to reveal fun mini games or fun animations.
The games are simple and short (around one minute each), with intuitive controls. They usually involve tracing, matching, or filling in shapes. In one game, for example, kids are tasked to help a square caterpillar munch out a shape from a leaf by connecting dots. In another, they rebuild a broken ship by dragging the right shapes into the provided template. There is also a game where the goal is to identify the correct keys to open a nesting pirate chest.
When kids successfully complete a game, the name of the shape will be announced for reinforcement. A celebratory sequence will also appear, complete with an applause, music, and happy animations.
There are 16 games included in the app, although not all of them are available when playing for the first time. Rather, the app puts them out a few at a time, and more games will be available once a puzzle has been solved. It is also possible to repeat a game as desired -- the games will feature a different shape every time.
Finally, an interesting tidbit is that the app follows the time on the device to allow a “sleep mode“. At 10 PM night will fall on the village, and the characters will sleep. Kids can still play the games, but the sun won’t rise and the characters won’t wake up before 7 AM.
Parents Need to Know
Shape the Village is a lovely app that invites kids to learn about shapes through play and exploration. The app was specifically made for kids ages 3–6 in mind, however the activities are on the simpler side so it might be more appealing to younger juniors.
The app is quite intuitive and easy to use for the most part, even without the inclusion of verbal and written instructions. There are plenty of visual aids though, such as objects hopping and jiggling, to guide kids throughout the games. Random tapping is sometimes required, but never really a problem.
In addition to games, the app has a special section for parents which contains printable workbooks for extending the child’s shape adventure outside the iPad. Many ideas are offered here, such as making geometric finger puppets, constructing shapes out of chopsticks, finding shapes hidden around the house, and many more. To access this section, you need to tap and hold for three seconds the Workbook button at the bottom left corner on the home screen.
Shape the Village has no ads and no in-app purchases. The app is available in two versions, full and lite.
Things I Like
Shape the Village is a great app filled with fun and short activities for juniors to practice their ability in recognizing basic 2D geometrical shapes. By focusing only on circles, squares, and triangles, the app is able to speed up the learning process while demonstrating how these basic shapes are used as building blocks for more complex objects. The short duration of the activities also allow the app to provide a frequent stream of encouragements that motivate juniors to play more.
Additionally, the app has cute graphics and animations to keep juniors entertained. I love the little details of the app, such as how the characters sleep at night. This is an especially useful trick for convincing juniors who just won’t go to bed; you can tell them that even the characters in the app have curfews!
Shape the Village is a fantastic app that introduces kids to three basic shapes: circle, square, and triangle. It offers 16 colorful mini games that encourage exploration and play, while showing how basic shapes can be used to create more complex objects. Highly recommended if you have young juniors who are only starting to learn about shapes.
App was provided for our honest review.