Balloon Baby School by Kids Place
This is a fun app, available in both free and paid versions, the chief difference being that the paid version doesn’t have ads. The paid version is only 99 cents, hardly something that will break the bank. It’s available for both the iPhone and the iPad. I tested it on an iPad.
You start the app in the main menu, with tinkly baby music playing as the words “Balloon Baby School” float across a sunny blue sky. Already, I’m thinking this app would be about 20% cooler if they could have licensed ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” but that would probably break the budget.
On that screen, you get to choose from among 9 categories:
- Musical Instruments
- Fruits and Vegetables (I’m not going to ask why they’re not included in “Food”)
Selecting a category puts you into another screen, which lets you decide whether to go to “Learning” or “Game.”
Selecting “Learning” for “Objects” puts you into a screen which displays objects, starting with “A is for Airplane.” You use arrows at the bottom of the screen to navigate forward and backward through the alphabet.
Once you’re done “Learning,” you can try the “Game.” This is where your little ones can test their knowledge. The narrator (whose precise British accent gives the app an unexpected appeal) asks you to pop the balloon for a specific object. It starts with one object and, by the end of the game, increases to ten objects on the screen at the same time. When you pop the correct balloon, you get an animated pop. If you try to pop the wrong balloon, you get a pleasant series of tones. After finishing the stage, you get a nice “Congratulations” banner and applause. There are some nice touches; in the “Musical Instruments” game, you get rewarded with the sounds of the instrument you just popped. The acoustic guitar almost plays the first few notes of “Behind Blue Eyes.” Cool.
The app is rated for 4+ in the App Store, but I turned Secunda, who is about 14 months, loose on it this morning. She had difficulty being precise and forceful enough in her finger motions to do all the popping by herself, but after being a little frightened by the noise and applause (you might not want to have the volume cranked on this one), she really liked it.
I was amazed at the depth of the app, particularly for its free version. According to the App Store description there are more than 200 words here, and that seems accurate. There are hours of replay possible here, meaning that this is an app that you’ll get months, if not years, of use out of. I can see it getting plenty of use.
Great app–highly recommended. It’s even better if you pay the 99 cents, remove the ads, and support the developers.