Bottom Line: A decent introduction to some very basic Spanish vocabulary but needs more content to justify the cost of the in-app purchases.
The most effective way for a child to learn a language is to be immersed in it from a very young age. Although most children are required to learn other languages at school, unless the child continues to converse and read in that language, most of it is quickly forgotten. This presents a dilemma for parents who speak only one language but who want their child exposed to a second language before school.
In this day and age, there must be apps for that, right? The developers from Tiny Factory created Bilingual Child Spanish: Learn Animals, Colors and Numbers with this situation in mind - parents can play it with their toddlers aged one to four as an introduction to some language basics, hopefully in an engaging way that would spark their child’s interest.
The basic app is free which gives the child access to Animals with Lucy and Carlos. There are two in-app purchases for $1.99 that unlock Colors and Numbers, which follow the same format as Animals.
At the start of the game, between one and four blocks fall from the sky, each of which has a picure of an animal on it. The name of one animal is first spoken by Lucy in English then repeated in Spanish by Carlos and the child must then choose the correct block and drag it to the box in the center of the screen. If the child needs a reminder of the animal they need to identify, they can click on Lucy to hear the animal’s name in English, while Carlos repeats the animal’s name in Spanish. Once the correct block is chosen, both Lucy and Carlos congratulate the child in English and Spanish respectively. If the block chosen is incorrect, it will drop to the ground and the child is encouraged in both languages to try again. The combination of interaction from two children in both languages is a terrific idea.
There are ten animals to correctly identify and once the game is completed,an additional animal game is unlocked – the content is the same but now the only language used is Spanish. Upon completing the game a progress report shows how well the child did.
The child narrators’ voices are not only appealing but clear and when they speak a word it is also shown in English and Spanish. The graphics, bright colors and music are all cute and age-appropriate for toddlers.
The block can be dragged to the center of the page with ease but a few times when the blocks fell from the top of the screen they got stuck at the top, a minor bug that could hopefully be easily fixed . The more substantive concerns with this app fall into three areas:
1) Replay value. As a game for toddlers that endeavors to engage them in something challenging, I would have expected to see more variety and energy. As it stands, this app is little more than flashcards set to music. Possible changes that could make the app more engaging would include hearing the animal sound when a block is pressed, animating the animal on the block when the correct answer is chosen, enabling the child to interact with Lucy and Carlos – when tapped they could say "hello," be tickled, etc. What really stands out however is that the order the animals are shown never changes. Adding levels where there are more animals and their order is randomized would substantially increase the app’s replay value.
2) The progress report at the end of each game shows corrected answers only. While I appreciate that the app gives the child a chance to correct their mistake, as a parent I would have liked the progress report to track where errors were initially made.
3) Lack of additional levels for free or purchase. In its current form, most children would master this app very quickly.
The animal and Spanish-only animal games are free and so if you think this app would appeal to your toddler, it’s worth downloading to take a look. Overall however, in the app’s current form, I can't recommend the in-app purchases at the cost of $1.99 each.
If you would like to purchase Bilingual Child Spanish please use the links provided. The cost is the same, but Smart Apps receives a small percentage. Thanks for your support!
This app was reviewed by Jessica Jensen and it is times like these she really wishes she would have studied harder in all her Spanish classes. Deanne Shoyer assisted with this review. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.