Are your children only learning to read, or are they still struggling with letters and sounds? If they are, you might want to check out Bla Bla Box. Developed by Marbotic, it's a terrific sandbox where ages 3-6 can explore letters and write words in a colorful way.
String Letters Together
In Bla Bla Box, kids build syllables and words by dragging colorful letters on screen. The app spells and reads out each word—real or made-up—as it is built, for example, it reads M-O-M as "mo" and finally "mom". Kids can rearrange letters as they please, and there isn't a limit to how many words they can make.
Should kids want to delete a letter or a word, they can do so by dragging and dropping it onto the garbage can on the top right. They can also control the size the letters by tapping the small and large A's next to the garbage can.
Kids can use the app together with Smart Letters, a set of connected wooden letters that can be placed on screen in lieu of dragging and dropping. It turns letters into tangible objects that kids can manipulate and thus, remember more easily.
Parents Need to Know
The default setting in Bla Bla Box makes it so that the letters are shown in rainbow colors. You can change this option by going to the Settings menu and specifying whether you'd like to use Montessori colors or the same color for all the letters. If you choose Montessori colors, the vowels will be displayed in red and the consonants in blue.
The app is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German, and Dutch. When you open the app for the first time, it will prompt you to select your preferred language. Once you've made your choice, the other languages are available at an additional cost. The app has no third-party ads. External links are secured by a parental gate.
Things I Like
Bla Bla Box is really well done. It not only looks great, but it's also easy to use and navigate. The narration is loud and clear, and the theme music is especially memorable.
Even though the app looks simple, it's actually quite valuable. It allows kids to explore how certain letters sound when they are stringed together, which is essential for word building. Because there is no limit to how many words they can make, the possibility is endless.
If you're worried that your kids might try to spell "naughty" words, rest assured because the app automatically detects expletives and prevents the narrator from reading it aloud. You can still spell them, but the app will just play a laughing sound effect as soon as the word is formed.
Bla Bla Box is an excellent app in which young kids can independently discover letter sounds, build words, and eventually learn to read. It's not a game, but it's colorful and highly interactive. I highly recommend this app if you're looking for an app to help early readers.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
Marbotic is a publisher that designs and creates innovative educational solutions blending sensory material and digital interfaces.
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