A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn to recognize letters and basic words by choosing the correct letters for each word. Parents can set up the app so kids have to choose letters in order. That way, they can work on spelling and word recognition in addition to letter recognition. The game automatically adapts to kids' skill levels, but there's no consequence for choosing the wrong letter, which means kids can tap all the letters until they happen to spell the word. With parents nearby to reinforce learning, Licking Letters can be a great way for young kids to get more exposure to letters and words.
Ease of Play
The game is fairly intuitive and easy to play. Hoppy the Frog talks kids through each step and provides visual aids.
Violence & Scariness
A few of the costume elements relate to the military (camouflage) and pirates (a hat and shirt with skulls on them). There's an alligator in the bonus games that grunts menacingly, but never does anything scary.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Licking Letters uses a cute and encouraging frog to help kids practice identifying letters and spelling three-letter words. At the beginning of each round, a short word is shown and read aloud, and each letter is introduced. The letters then float across the screen; when one of the target letters is above the frog, kids tap the screen to watch the frog lick the letter. This continues until all letters in the word have been selected. Parents can choose whether the letters appear randomly or only in the correct spelling order. The first few rounds use three-letter words and only include the target letters, but the game gradually increases in difficulty. Completing a round earns a coin, which can be used to buy costume items for the frog. Some of the costume items show skulls or camouflage. Coins can also be earned in frequent bonus rounds that involve quick response times and a grumpy alligator.
Is It Any Good?
Licking Letters is a fun app that mixes a straightforward and repetitive spelling game with flashy costumes, quick bonus rounds, and encouraging words to keep kids interested and engaged. The game progresses in difficulty, and it's cool to be able to control whether or not the target letters appear in the correct order. Instructions are generally spoken, although kids will need to be shown how to play at the beginning. Unless they get bored, kids can play a lot of different rounds, making this app a great bargain.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.