A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cookie Monster's Challenge is a collection of activities designed to stretch kids' non-academic school-readiness skills, such as problem solving, memory, self-control, and following directions. Kids need to understand English well, as much of the games are about listening to the instructions, all of which are in English -- or, rather, in Cookie Monster trademark speech. Tasks get harder as kids progress, and parents can make multiple accounts so different kids can progress at their own pace; this is important because kids should not jump in at an upper level since getting through higher levels sometimes requires remembering what happened at lower levels. Beware, though -- the games can be addictive: Kids need to finish an entire level to be able to save progress, and Cookie Monster gives lots of encouragement to keep playing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids play games to help Cookie Monster build a cookie-delivery contraption. As kids complete each game set, they add a new piece to the machine and progress to the next level. With nine levels total and nine games in each level, kids get lots of practice with skills such as problem solving (which glasses fit on the three-eyed monster?); memory (do I press the red button or the blue one when I see the cat?); and self-control (don't touch that pig!).
Is it any good?
There are so many apps that give kids practice with manageable academic skills: letters, numbers, colors, and so on. Big kudos here to PBS Kids and Sesame Street for designing cute, clever, accessible, and irresistible games that give kids practice with equally important but harder-to-put-your-finger-on school-readiness skills such as short-term memory, flexible thinking, sequence following, and task persistence. Games get wonderfully more complex and build on each other as kids advance so that, for example, by Level 9, kids have to tap the red (not the blue) button when they see a cat in a hat (not a cat without a hat, and not Cookie Monster wearing cat ears on his head!). And activities sometimes rely on instructions given several levels below, so kids exercise their memory skills and get a holistic experience throughout the game. It remains to be seen how much this kind of practice can actually improve, for instance, kids' self-control. But, in the meantime, it's a delightful start.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about everyday life to round out the experience. Challenge kids in daily situations to problem-solve, think flexibly, remember and follow instructions, and more.
Provide kids with toys and games that challenge them to think flexibly and use reasoning such as Simon Says, I Spy, puzzles, and wooden blocks.
Take advantage of the great learning extension ideas offered within the app -- just visit the parents' section.
- Devices: iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: memorization, problem solving
- Price: $2.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: August 28, 2014
- Category: Education
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Size: 90.70 MB
- Publisher: PBS KIDS
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
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