Monki Birthday Party - Language Learning for Kids and Toddlers

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
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Birthday party fun offers four languages.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn and develop language skills and practice preschool skills such as identifying shapes and colors. It's presented through play, which is a great way for preschoolers to develop their language skills. They'll hear conversational instructions related to a birthday party and then respond. Kids can easily switch languages, too, from English to Spanish, Chinese, or Portuguese. Monki Birthday Party takes what kids love -- birthdays -- and adds playful learning for a fun, educational game for preschoolers.

Ease of Play

Drag-and-drop, swiping functionality. A few instances of unclear next steps, no hints.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monki Birthday Party is a toddler-friendly game that immerses kids in language naturally while they play. Parents or kids can choose language options from English, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese, and then kids follow verbal instructions in the chosen language to prepare for and celebrate a birthday. The app is a free download that includes one game; three other games are available as in-app purchases or can be unlocked by sharing the app on Facebook or submitting an email address to receive the newsletter, granting access to personal information.

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What's it about?

MONKI BIRTHDAY PARTY - LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR KIDS AND TODDLERS opens in a park where kids are welcomed to a birthday party with Cowy and his animal friends. In the free game, kids choose a cake, add 10 candles, sing "Happy Birthday," and help Cowy blow out the candles. In the other three games, kids decorate for the party, exploring shapes and colors; choose party hats, working on differentiating smaller and bigger; and bust a piñata, sorting treats by shape. Kids can play in their language of origin to build preschool concepts such as vocabulary, shapes, and colors or play in another language. Switching among languages is easy -- it only takes a tap to get to the settings and then select the language -- and kids can access the language selection themselves.

Is it any good?

Monki Birthday Party - Language Learning for Kids and Toddlers has the potential to be great, but a few hiccups hold it back. Across the games, kids get a nice mix of language exposure, practice following verbal directions, and time to be creative. Although kids will enjoy setting up and celebrating at the party the first time, the games are shallow enough that kids probably won't want to revisit them again and again. Also, the decorating game doesn't have a clear end, which may leave kids frustrated or confused. Though the multiple-language component is a standout feature and kids play while immersed in a second language, some might struggle: Languages are spoken at a natural, fluent pace, so playing in a non-native language is quite challenging, and it's unclear how much kids will pick up; if they play in their first language and then in their second, they might get more out of it. There's no denying the positive features, but with locked games, some confusing elements, and relatively shallow content, this app falls short of greatness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's going on in the game. Ask kids questions such as "What would you give Cowy for her birthday?" or "How old do you think Cowy is?" to allow them to practice language skills.

  • To improve kids' language skills, read to them about a variety of topics, ask questions, and talk about what you're reading.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love languages

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