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Martha Speaks Dog Party
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Martha Speaks Dog Party is an educational app tied into the popular PBS television show. The four mini-games in the app give kids different opportunities to learn new words like "amble" and "fabulous." Parents should also know that even though preschoolers might enjoy the TV show, the vocabulary games in this app are best for kids in the 4-7 range.
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Is it any good?
With Martha the talking dog as this party's affable host, kids will enjoy playing the four different mini-games that all help teach vocabulary lessons. Pop a party ballon to choose a game and play dress up with a selection of adorable canines. Take a picture of your creation and learn that your dog's outfit is very "fashionable," plus exactly what that means in kid-friendly terms. Or play "Chow Time" and choose the dog plate that matches Martha's instructions; for instance: "Which is the checkerboard plate?" Then feed the dog his party food by swiping a finger around the plate to move the doggie's slurpy tongue.
The best thing about the app is how it integrates the learning into the game in a way that doesn't interfere with the fun while also offering lots of encouragement with "yay"s and "good job"s. Kids younger than 4 might have difficulty with some of the concepts (machine vs. nature) and vocabulary (nautical). One slight annoyance is that the volume controls seem buggy -- a player can control the volume of Martha's voice, but not some of the other sound effects, so they can be quite loud. Overall, this is a super fun party that's worth the RSVP.