A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LumiKids Park by Lumosity, Early Learning Play for Kids is the first venture into kids' territory from a lab that specializes in creating cognitive workouts for grown-ups. Before kids can play, parents need to provide the kid's birth month and year and gender. Then, kids enter the LumiKids Park, a whimsical playground where kids can interact with various features or choose from three mini-games to play: Each game focuses on a different basic cognitive skill such as attention and memory, sorting, and visual motor coordination, and the game adapts to your kid's progress. Some games also allow multiple fingers, so a parent or sibling can play along. The music and the little monster blobs are cute, but after a while, sound effects can get annoying; however, this is more likely to bother grown-ups than kids. Parents can provide their email addresses to receive very basic weekly reports on their kids' progress.
What's it about?
In LUMIKIDS PARK BY LUMOSITY, EARLY LEARNING PLAY FOR KIDS, kids explore LumiPark, where they can tap on anything they see to watch something fun happen (make a girl swing, watch a dog do a trick). Three mini-games focus on three cognitive skills: sorting cutesy creatures by color and shape; paying attention as critters hide, then tapping in the correct places to make them come out; and coordinating color matching and motor control to make little creatures eat the correctly colored dots, Pac-Man style. Games get more challenging as kids move along, until they reach the highest level. Some games allow multi-touch, so more than one person can play at the same time.
Is it any good?
The graphics and premise in LumiKids Park by Lumosity, Early Learning Play for Kids are fun and super inviting for little kids: With lots of interactive elements on the home screen and audio with kid appeal -- though it's potentially aversive to grown-ups -- the developers clearly "get" kids. Gameplay overall is simple, but, with only a finger icon to guide them, it might take some kids a minute to figure things out. That challenge is part of the value, however, in that kids will learn through trial and error. While kids are having fun playing hide-and-seek or gobbling up colored dots, they also can exercise some important basic cognitive skills. There's a nice progression through the games, so as kids keep playing, the tasks get more challenging, though it won't take long for kids to reach the top "level." This is a safe, supportive learning environment, with no penalties for wrong answers and lots of positive feedback (audio tracks of clapping or "Yay!") when kids choose correctly. Other kids or parents can jump in to two out of the three games, which is helpful if there's more than one little kid in the house or if you can snuggle up and play along. The three games feel a bit limited, as kids may quickly breeze through all there is to offer, but since the app is high-quality and free, it's worth checking out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kids are doing to draw attention to the skills they're practicing. Why did they put the green circle in the green blob? How did they know where to find the hiding critter?
Practice these same skills off-screen: Have kids help sort (for example, match clean socks), play games that require attention (memory), and do things that require fine motor skills (puzzles, beading, block building, drawing).
LumiKids is not an assessment tool, but you can still observe kids as they play and note where they're doing well, having trouble, or having fun -- or not -- to learn more about what might be going on inside your kids' heads.
- Devices: iPad, Android
- Subjects: Math: grouping, shapes
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, memorization
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: December 4, 2014
- Category: Education
- Size: 15.60 MB
- Publisher: Lumos Labs, Inc.
- Version: 1.0.6
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later
For kids who love apps for toddlers and preschoolers
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.