First Words Feelings

App review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
First Words Feelings App Poster Image
Useful tool helps kids study facial expressions, spell.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to spell words that have to do with simple feelings ("happy"), complex feelings ("sly"), and other states of being (such as "hot," "lost," and "safe"). Touching the picture reveals the name of the feeling. As kids drag and drop letters into boxes to spell it, they can practice sounding out letters with the phonics feature or hear the actual letter names as they're placed -- or go all out and turn off the sound. Kids get good practice with spelling, listening skills, and vocabulary as they learn to read facial expressions and body language.

Ease of Play

Kids drag letters in any order (unless you change the settings to say it must be done left-to-right) to boxes where the letter is visible but slightly grayed out. Most young kids will grasp this right away.

Violence & Scariness
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You can view more games to buy under Options and More Games, both easily tapped on from the main screen.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that First Words Feelings is part of a series of First Words games and is played the same way as the others. Words are said letter by letter as kids drag the letters into the appropriate gray boxes; if parents adjust the settings, a smaller set of words can be sounded out with phonics. This makes this series appropriate for pre-readers and early spellers. This particular title may also be helpful for kids who need extra help interpreting facial expressions.

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What's it about?

Each page of FIRST WORDS FEELINGS has a feeling or other state of being and a word to spell. Click on the character depicting the feeling to hear what it is, then drag and drop letters into the right slots to spell the word. When the word is complete a voice says "g-l-a-d, glad!" As with other titles in the First Words series, parents have many ways to tailor the experience. Choose phonics or letter names, word length (up to 10 characters), whether kids must place letters in the right order, or whether or not letter hints appear.

Is it any good?

The First Words series offers something for both pre-readers and kids just learning how to spell. The very youngest may just like dragging and dropping letters they recognize in the right slots; it's a simple game that will take on much more meaning as they get interested in spelling. First Words Feelings can also be useful in helping kids understand the meaning of different facial expressions and body language. The cartoon characters offer pretty accurate expressions, though something like "sly" can be a little harder to convey. From there it would have been helpful to have a sentence defining the feeling, so be prepared to explain words like "sly" and "lucky."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Some words featured -- "sly" and "lucky" -- may need more explanation. Use the words in a sentence or point out when a character in their favorite book feels that way.

  • Talk about how a child is feeling and remind them that it's a word they know. "Frustrated" may be hard to spell, but preschoolers will often relate to it!

App details

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