Bottom Line: An interactive app to learn twelve opposite pairs in six different languages. Uses creative interactions, including shaking the device and “waking up” the characters with the microphone. More opposite pairs and more variety in the current pairs would make it a Top Pick, but it’s still a solid app for toddlers and preschoolers to learn opposites.
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Cricket Kids: Opposites is developed by Slim Cricket Education, developer of several popular children’s educational apps. Their newest app is perfect for helping young kids learn about opposite words in a fun, interactive way.
Two cartoon bugs (decidedly not crickets, in spite of the app name) are the stars in this app, and the user interacts with them in 12 different scenes. Turn on music by tapping a radio (resulting in “noisy”) and tapping it again to make it quiet; a little Christmas present is stretched to a much more respectable big size.
One of the highlights of this app is the number of creative interactive ways to learn the opposite words. In a birthday party scene, the user taps candles to light them (for the concept of “lit”) and blows into the microphone to learn “blown out.” The microphone is also employed to wake up the little bugs snoozing in bed (to learn the asleep/awake pair). Shake the device to make the bedroom untidy then sort out the toys, clothes and books to their appropriate spot to make it tidy again.
These interactions are accompanied by a very smooth interface and great graphics, especially when played on the iPad. The app works on the iPhone, but the graphics are not as sharp or as easy to interact with. I also noted that the candles didn’t really require me to blow into them when played on the iPhone— it happened even if I left my iPhone sitting on the desk without touching it.
Cricket Kids: Opposites is available to play in six different languages, all in the one app, which is really nice to see. Parents wanting to expose children to new languages (or perhaps already teaching a second language) can easily use this app to learn English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or German.
There is also a quiz, which involves matching the correct text word to a small picture of the app scene. It’s a nice follow-up for the older kids using the app, and the words are said when tapped (so even young non-readers can take the quiz). However, the scenes are exactly the same as the app, so it’s not so much a quiz of knowledge as a quiz of memorization. It would be great to see some different scenes with the same concept to allow teachers and parents to measure actual understanding of the concepts.
While this app is a great buy for parents and teachers of toddlers and preschoolers, it’s not quite to Top Pick status right now. For $1.99 I wished for a few more than 12 opposite pairs, or at least a little more variety in most of the current scenes. While the musical selection changes on the noisy/quiet scene, there are only three different tunes. The untidy room sort is fun, but the toys and clothing fall in exactly the same place each time. There are also only three pop-up options on the closed/open scene.
Though a few of the scenes did have good variety (the bugs hide in different places on the hidden/found scene, and the number of interactions possible on the full/empty scene is nice), the majority feature fun interactions that are mostly predictable. Children on the younger side of the toddler/preschool age range will probably find this a strong point, but older kids will be more likely to tire of the app, even though it would still have usefulness as an educational tool.
Also of note: one of the scenes features a cute/ugly opposite pair, which may bother some parents and educators. The ugly opposite uses the child’s own photo, and at least in my family we don’t use “ugly” to refer to people, even though the actual interaction is pretty cool — it uses the device’s camera to show the user in the mirror, then distorts the image like a fun house mirror for ugly.
Overall, this is a solid app and worth a purchase for toddlers and preschoolers to explore. The engaging interactions and wonderful graphics will help them learn these important concepts in a fun way. Those who work on the concept of opposites will really appreciate something much more creative than flashcards to teach young children.
Heather H. wishes she was the opposite of cold, tired and hungry. Slim Cricket Education is an advertiser with SmartAppsForKids.com.