Papumba Academy

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Papumba Academy App Poster Image
Cutesy, quirky collection for preschool learning is pricey.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice recognizing and writing letters and numbers, as well as counting and letter sounds. They can also learn to recognize animals.

Ease of Play

Some of the language is advanced for the target age (e.g., "trivia") and there are no prompts if kids get stuck. Some of the clues that kids have chosen an incorrect answer are too subtle for the age group (e.g., a series of notes trending downward).

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Papumba Academy is a subscription-based collection of educational games for toddlers and preschoolers. Subscriptions are $5.99 per month or $47.99 per year. There are sample activities available without a subscription, and a free one-week trial is available for those who want to try before they buy. Since the prompts won't be entirely clear for them, and there are no hints available if they get stuck, younger kids may need help with some of the activities. There are some quirks that may be due to cultural/language differences, such as calling the matching game "Memotest" and tracing numbers in the opposite direction from what kids are typically taught. There are parent gate prompts for some guided activities and the settings that require entering in numbers that are written out on the screen. Parents can enter profiles for several children and at least one activity uses the child's name. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

PAPUMBA ACADEMY is a collection of learning games and activities for toddlers and preschoolers. There are memory games, matching games, and a coloring page that uses the child's name. There are activities that involve counting and others that ask kids to recognize and trace letters and numbers. A few family activities require parent involvement; they invite kids to use their imagination or to be active while in the same room as the device. 

Is it any good?

This is a cheery way to reinforce kids' knowledge of letters and numbers while challenging them with memory and matching games, but some activities fall flat, especially for the price. Papumba Academy is nothing if not cute: The graphics are bright and colorful and bound to draw the attention of little ones. The learning activities are solid, as tracing letters and numbers is good for both recognition and fine motor development, and matching games are always great for developing basic problem-solving skills. But taken as a whole, the games fall a bit flat. They almost all rely on kids tapping (not even dragging/dropping) on correct answers with little room for interactivity and creativity. Even the drawing experience is very limited: Kids can color in their name, but only by tapping on each letter for auto-fill. The prompts are repetitive and often awkward, and it would be nice to offer clues and hints when kids get stuck. With the way most of the activities work, younger kids can just randomly tap answers until they get the right one and not learn much of anything in the process. All in all, it's fine, but the subscription fee is a lofty one for the amount of content. Parents will want to use the free trial to determine if the quality is high enough to make the fees worth their while. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about numbers and letters in Papumba Academy. Point out numbers and letters that you see and practice counting objects around the house. 

  • How do you like this app in comparison with other apps you could play? If you had or have limited screen time, would you pick this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

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