Bottom Line: Introduces youngsters, through a series of interactive games and narrated explanations, to words and concepts that often can't be seen, touched or easily explained.
GazziliWords, the flagship app of the GazziliWorld LLC empire, brings to mind Big Words for Little People, the delightful book by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Connell. It uses members of the Gazzili Gang to help explain and demonstrate words and actions that defy straightforward pictorial representation.
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The first three words, fingerprints, rainbow and balance are free to download and additional packs of 3 words can be purchased for $.99 each as in-apps. There are seven word packs currently available so the total investment in this app could reach $6.93. While the pay as you go model may please some, iTunes reviews seem vehemently opposed to this pricing structure.
Users should keep in mind that they are paying for much more than a flash card with a word printed on it. Each module requires the child's active participation to tap, swipe, or tilt to illustrate the concept being presented. The cost for Words is actually the same as the other Gazzili apps - six games for $1.99. While the overall price is more than most preschool apps, the quality and educational content make it a reasonable investment.
The word packs for the most part don't seem to follow any particular theme. Bones, Blood and Skin tie together nicely, but Surprise, Dream and Sweat don't have a common thread that I can discern. I think more logical grouping might help with retention of the sometimes abstract ideas being shared. The variety and complexity of words included is quite impressive though. Children are taught Acceptance from a very young age, but often don't have a proper name for it other than some variation of the Golden Rule. As a parent of a special needs child that is obviously different, I welcome introduction of this lesson in particular.
Balance, which is one of the free words, is actually my favorite. Benito asks if balance is what keeps him from falling out of bed. He learns balance is used in dancing, running, jumping and carrying things without spilling them. His newfound knowledge is put to the test when kids have to tilt the iPad to balance a colossal triple scoop ice cream cone with scads of toppings. Watching the tower of goodness sway back and forth before finally sliding off the cone in great gooey plops is a blast. The meaning of balance couldn't be any clearer after this exercise.
All of the words have a clearly narrated introduction before the game. Settings allow users to control sound effects, music, instructions and narration. In addition to learning new words and concepts, the app also offers great practice for following directions. Some games require tapping in a particular place while others rely on device physics. I wish there was less shaking of the iPad required as that seems destined to lead to an accidental breaking of the iPad. I actually worked up my own sweat shaking the iPad harder and harder to make Kenji jump on the trampoline and sweat.
GazziliWords was nominated for a Webby Award when it was released in 2011. It was pretty cutting edge for that time and among the best of the preschool educational apps in the iTunes store. A lot has changed in 18 months and what parents expect in an app continually grows. I think it's quite good but has been eclipsed by GazziliScience. The games are initially fun when learning the concept for the first time, but replay value is considerably lacking unless you continue to buy new word packs for $.99.
Surprise is one of the words introduced in the app and it's something every child can appreciate. We have a surprise for our readers. More Gazzili apps FREE For An Hour. Stay tuned and read the Gazzili reviews as you may have to complete a puzzle, visit the pet store or balance your iPad on your nose to take advantage.