Bottom line: A suite of well-done games that targets a whole host of developmental skills in a fun way. Impressive but very expensive.
(Free trial links below.)
Injini: Child Development Game Suite can successfully be used with typically-developing children but it was specifically designed for, and tested with, children affected by autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and other developmental delays.
Injini is a “Suite” because it is actually 10 learning games in one app: puzzles (90 of them), a balloon game, which helps develop awareness of colors and shapes, eight mini farm-based games, a Find-It activity which works on discrimination skills, Feed the Frog, which is great for developing the fine motor skills, a letters game, and games that focus on matching, patterns, squares and tracing. Most of the games have nine levels, and there are several screens within each level.
There is a wealth of content here.
Injini is already something of a rock star within the special needs app community. It’s the app that everyone clamors to have. Truthfully, this app is wonderful but in my opinion two notable elements prevent it from receiving more than four stars.
First, here are the main reasons why I love this app:
* The music and artwork are age-appropriate and fun (although the music is a total earworm for an adult.)
* The visual prompting is first rate and sets the bar for other apps to follow.
* My beloved visual labeling is evident throughout all the games. My favorite activity in the app is actually tracing. This game not only does a great job of making it engaging with the use of colors and visual cues, it also adds a whole other level of learning by having the traced element become an object. For example, when a line is traced it turns into the neck of a giraffe which is then labeled both verbally and visually. Injini turns a deceptively simple and basic fine motor activity into something that promotes spacial visualization.
* The games automatically adjust their level of difficulty based on the child’s progress.
You really can see the research that went into developing this app – it supports error-free learning and independent play and targets a whole host of developmental goals in a way that is fun. My kids love playing this app; it is one of their favorites and I appreciate the fact that they are developing skills without it feeling like work.
There is obviously a lot to recommend about Injini and giving it at least four stars was a no-brainer. As mentioned previously, however, there are two things which prevent me from rating this app a must-have.
First, there is no data tracking – as a parent I would like this feature but teachers and therapists would surely view it as essential. Secondly, the elephant in the room with respect to this app is the price. I understand that an awful lot of research went into development. I also believe that additional content will be added without requiring in-app purchases – one game has already been added to the suite since its launch. However, $50 for an app is extremely expensive, and for most people, the cost is prohibitive. In the App Store, $50 will buy you ALOT of very good apps, making the cost difficult to justify. Bugs and Buttons is just $3, for example.
I'd also like to mention a couple of items on my wish-list for consideration in future updates. With this price tag, I can be picky.
* My boys love the puzzles and they are beautifully done. However, I find with some of them that the labeling lacks specificity. For example, a horse and wagon are labeled “wagon” - which is which? Once an egg, spoon and fork are put in place the plate setting is labeled “fried egg." My ideal would be, upon completion of the puzzle, each component could be tapped and then labeled at that point.
* I understand that the “Find It” game is designed to assess auditory comprehension but, as part of the help given, when the visual prompt appears I wonder if it might be labeled? Children with auditory processing challenges (or deaf children) will often recognize words by sight that they don’t understand if spoken. I think adding a label as part of the help prompts might be a useful addition in assisting development of their comprehension skills.
* I would like to see some harder levels for some of the games, especially the puzzles, and some games for older children (who may still be developmentally at a preschool level) would also be a bonus.
If you have or work with special needs children who are preschoolers developmentally then definitely download the Lite version and give it a try. If you love the trial version as much as my kids and I did then start saving your pennies.
If you would like to download Injini: Child Development Game Suite please support Smart Apps for Kids by using the links provided. Thanks for your support!
This review was written by Deanne Shoyer who finds Injini ingenious but wishes it were more affordable.