First Grade Pencil-Pal: Learning Game

App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
First Grade Pencil-Pal: Learning Game App Poster Image
Educational games in the guise of a kids' TV show.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The games here should be easy enough for most children who are beginning first grade (and possibly some kindergartners). Many of the games involves targeting the correct answer on a moving fish and grabbing it with a hoist claw; this adds a level of hand-eye coordination that may be a bit difficult for younger kids.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that First Grade Pencil-Pal: Learning Game is a collection of early-education based games in a children's-television-show-like setting. Several animated characters on a boat host different games and activities. There's even a pelican who's just there to tell jokes, and a movie theater where kids can watch videos reminiscent of the animated shorts on Sesame Street. The main game format involves a lot of eye-hand coordination, though, so some kids might get frustrated with it.

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Is it any good?

The format of FIRST GRADE PENCIL-PAL: LEARNING GAME is probably the best part of the app. The animated characters who pop in and out of doors and windows on the boat make the whole experience feel like a children's TV show. They talk to the "viewer," tell jokes, invite them into different chambers on the boat, and play host for different games and activities. The videos -- with that old Sesame-Street-short feel -- are cute and fun; the animated dot-to-dot puzzles are a great bonus; and the art room provides in itself what some art apps provide in their entirety. The games, which are the main feature, though, can get repetitive, with only one format: Grab the fish with the correct answer on it. There's so much variety around the rest of that cartoon ship, it would be nice to have a little more in the game room. For all the app's features, it's still a bit too pricey compared to what else is available.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $9.99
  • Release date: May 26, 2010
  • Category: Education
  • Publisher: School Zone Publishing
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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