Joyland - Kids Learning Games

App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
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Lots of learning games; illogical mix of skills.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will be able to explore a range of educational topics through the app's collection of games like letters, number recognition, word families, coding, telling time, recognizing money, and facts related to different countries and the 50 states. The app also includes memory games and puzzles that encourage kids to practice simple thinking and problem-solving skills. The Pet Care game encourages creativity and design.   

Ease of Play

Some games, like the Memory Games, First Words, and Dino Hospital are designed to be intuitive. Other games, such as Word Families and the Magic Time game, display written and spoken direction for added clarity. A guiding hand pops up in certain games for additional guidance on how to play. Depending on the game and its content, little ones may need the support of a grownup to play the game. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Monthly or yearly subscription is required to enjoy the app. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Joyland - Kids Learning Games is an education app where kids can access a collection of games that tap into a variety of learning topics. Upon launching the app, kids are greeted by a colorful train with a variety of learning game options. Kids will be able to explore and play games that address basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, patterns, matching, and spelling. Memory games and puzzles promote problem-solving skills, shape recognition, and recall. Kids will also be able to explore specific content and skills through games such as coding, and geography. The Dino Hospital feature allows kids to explore different medical professions, and The Pet Care game gives kids the option to groom a cat, personalize their pet, take pictures, and add their own voice to their pet. These features require access to the device's microphone and camera. Subscription in necessary to enjoy the app after a seven-day trial period. Subscription is $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

JOYLAND - KIDS LEARNING GAMES is a collection of early elementary educational games that address a variety of skills and concepts. The app requires either a monthly or annual subscription. Upon launching, kids will be able to browse the menu of games illustrated on the colorful train by swiping right. Other than the game categories, the home page displays a sound button on the top left-hand corner, allowing little ones to turn music on or off. Currently, there are sixteen categories to choose from, including Memory Games, Dino Hospital, Pet Care, Jigsaw Puzzles, First Words, and more. Tap to choose a category and then tap to choose a specific theme or game. Some games are designed to be intuitive, while others include written and spoken directions. Some games provide a guiding hand for added support.

The app offers hundreds of puzzle games, memory match games, and spelling games. The categories represent a wide variety of skills. Under each category there are several game options or sequences. For example, under Word Families, kids start off by tapping on words that belong to a particular word family. They then match the written word to a picture and then drag the words to complete sentences. Under Circus, kids can practice completing patterns, puzzles, spelling words, or guessing animals based on their outline. The Coin Learning category offers nine different games that allow kids to learn and practice recognizing coins, spelling, patterns with coins, combining coins to make a particular amount of money, making change, matching coins with their value, and adding money. Some games, such as Coin Learning, Magic Time, and Word Families, have a leveling up feature and present kids with a sequence of games that are progressively more challenging. According to the developer, new games are added monthly.

Is it any good?

Colorful and engaging platform is sure to engage little ones with a wide variety of educational games, but the mix of skills don't always make sense. Joyland - Kids Learning Games offers little ones a variety of topics to choose from, guaranteeing that there is something for all interests and a range of abilities. Some games tap into problem solving and recall, while other games address content specific skills. Kids will be able to explore content-heavy topics such as time and money, and can then switch to Pet Care or Dino Hospital and take a little brain break with open play and creativity. The platform is colorful and designed with simplicity in mind, making it kid friendly. There aren't many buttons or settings to complicate navigation, making easier for little ones to use on their own. Most of the games are quite intuitive or have clear written and spoken prompts that guide kids through playing. 

The variety and range of games offered by Joyland - Kids Learning Games allows kids to grow into the app. They can start off with simple letter, number, or puzzles games and grow into spelling, word family, and math games. Although the app casts a wide in order to ensures all kids find something that speaks to them, the leveling up in certain games doesn’t always make developmental sense. For example, in Coin Learning a game may start with kids dragging letters to spell the name of a coin, complete a pattern with coins, or match the face of a coin with its value and then demand that they make change or add coins – all within one game. The sequence moves too quickly and taps into a range of content standards that are not representative of what’s developmentally appropriate for a preschooler or Kindergartner. This may cause frustration or may cause kids to lose interest in the game. Grownups may want to help little ones through the more complex games that require more advanced knowledge. Little ones may not be able to discern which games are age appropriate and may need guidance in choosing a game that is just right for them. The games themselves are opportunities for kids to practice and expand on what they know. The app doesn't offer explicit tutorials or lessons. Some basic skills, like letter sounds, are embedded and easy enough for kids to pick up, but others are not.  If kids don't have knowledge of how to add or subtract, Coin Learning isn't teaching them how to do so with money. Rather, it presents opportunities for them to implement and refine what they already know or have started to learn. Although Joyland – Kids Learning Games provides an engaging platform where little ones can practice a variety of skills, it doesn't replace the valuable skills reinforced through real life experiences, including fine motor skills and visual-spatial reasoning. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different ways to practice the concepts and skills they see in Joyland – Kids Learning Games through real life experiences. Find fun and interesting puzzles to do together. Although kids practice problem solving skills by doing digital puzzles, real life puzzles help build fine motor skills and visual-spatial reasoning. Memory card games could be a fun family activity or part of a game night. Play Dominoes and encourage kids to count the number of dots they see. 

  • Encourage little ones to practice letters and numbers with things they can touch. The app allows kids to use their finger to trace letters and numbers. Allow kids to make them using clay or string. They can also trace letters and numbers in sand or in shaving cream. This allows kids to practice concepts, promotes fine motor skills, and engages them in sensory play.  

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