When Ellie (did I mention she's an opera singer?) reviewed today's GFAOTD she said it was "Great fun for imaginative play and light on calories."
I agree and think your preschooler will really enjoy building and eating their own ice cream creations. And you'll enjoy not paying $8 for a name-brand ice cream and having to wash a shirt that is now covered in drips.
If you would like to download Bamba Ice Cream please support smartappsforkids.com by using the link button provided:
Bottom line: A free virtual toy ice cream parlor with amusing additions. Great fun for imaginative play and light on calories.
Bamba Ice Cream is an interactive toy designed for kids aged 2-4, in which the child chooses ice-cream flavors and toppings to make their own dessert. The graphics are bright, cute and attractive and the music is old-timey pianola, delightful and quite perfect for the scene.
Reminiscent of the Toca Boca role-playing series, this app is user-friendly with some humorous twists. I particularly enjoyed the way the empty ice cream lids wiggle invitingly until they are filled. The player has the choice of common flavors such vanilla and chocolate, and some giggle-inducing ones including anchovies, alien, princess and dinosaur.
The toppings, too, are cute, look delicious and include a mystery topping (I ended up with pirate and unicorn toppings). Others include rainbow sprinkles, gummy bears and fairy sprinkles.
The child then assembles their creation - scoops first, toppings next, pays for it at the cash register, then eats it all up. My daughter deigned to share her banana split with me, and we took turns virtually gobbling it up.
The cash register element is a thoughtful addition - after all, it is a store and you must pay before you eat. The user chooses a cost from the keyboard (single digit) and a purse appears with the correct amount of coins in it and those have to dragged one at a time into the register drawer.
That's about the size of it. This is an imaginative open-ended play app for younger children as its interface is very basic. There are a few little things that were limiting, the addition of which could be easily incorporated for a slightly more sophisticated app that helps build some basic numeracy and literacy skills:
-The pop-up ad for Bamba's other paid app that appears after you've played the game a couple of times is annoying but not too bad for a free app. Parents, be warned though that it is there, it fills the whole screen, and your child is going to press it. There is also a "rate this app" box that pops up occasionally.
-There are little signs in the ice creams and toppings telling the flavor, but as the target age group for this app can't read, this is a bit pointless. It would be nice if there was an audio when the sign is tapped. Same again with the cash register - the number appears, but an audio would be helpful to tell the child what number they've chosen. The coins could also be counted when dragged to the register drawer.
- I found it a little frustrating that I couldn't choose where to put my scoops and toppings as they are automatically allocated a spot (I want the chocolate sprinkles on the raspberry ice cream, not on the lemon!). I can imagine this could be quite frustrating for children who like things 'just so.' Same thing when the sundae is eaten - it would be nice to have the ice cream disappear from where you're actually touching.
-There is no way to change the flavors or toppings without exiting the app and restarting.
All in all, though, this app is a whole lot of cheerful fun and very good for a free app. It's definitely worth downloading. Because seriously, what kid doesn't want to have their own ice cream parlor?
Eleanor Holland is a stay-at-home Mom who was a primary school music teacher for many years, has a Master's in Philosophy and is a part-time opera singer.