PianoBall - Fun With Learning

App review by
Kim Alessi, Common Sense Media
PianoBall - Fun With Learning App Poster Image
Colorful piano game for little hands is big fun.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn music concepts such as listening skills, pattern recognition, identifying songs and instruments, and performance. The app also teaches colors, stimulates curiosity and creativity, increases coordination 
and fine motor skills, and encourages concentration and experimentation. While the 10 different songs are similar in terms of challenge, the two keyboard designs give kids room to grow and offer a positive musical experience for players of various ages and abilities. PianoBall is an engaging and effective app that's a great introduction to the joys of music making and piano playing, all on a vibrant and inviting keyboard.

Ease of Play

PianoBall is easy to use, but young users will need some help maneuvering around the app. Two things to note for better play: The "Home" arrow is very subtly placed in the upper left hand corner, and it's a bit tricky to find. Also, any of the piano balls can be locked -- just double tap to lock and double tap again to unlock.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

On the support page, links encourage parents to share the app on their Facebook pages or email friends.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that PianoBall - Fun With Learning is a great music app designed for kids from 9 months to 5 years old. It's easy to use and has a colorful, kid-friendly interface and 10 built-in songs with instruction and playback. Toddlers and young kids can freestyle or learn to play music on a choice of two colorful piano keyboards. The app also has four different instrument sounds to choose from (piano, saxophone, xylophone, and drum kit) and more than a rainbow's worth of keyboard color choices. Parents can lock parts of the app's functionality to allow the littlest of players to focus on specific parts of the app.

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What's it about?

Players begin choosing one of two piano keyboard interfaces designed for different motor skill abilities. One keyboard has four sets of wide keys stacked atop each other; the other has eight narrower keys next to each other. Kids then spin the piano balls to change the keyboard colors, instrument, and song. A voice speaks the color names as they're selected. Kids can freestyle and just play, or they can follow glowing yellow stars on the keyboard to play a song at their own pace. The song is then played back in rhythm.

Is it any good?

PIANOBALL - FUN WITH LEARNING is a wonderful and engaging music app, especially for toddlers. It stimulates kids aurally and visually and allows them to exercise hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and musical development, making it a great choice for a variety of learning styles. Kids can repeat musical patterns to play songs, make their own music with taps or swipes of the screen, or shake the device to unleash a star-filled experience with sights and sounds. Young kids will need help maneuvering between songs, especially when the app gets stuck on one song (fix the glitch by going to the home button, then select a keyboard again). Older kids with early reading skills may hanker for something more challenging, so try the app's solfege (aka "do-re-mi") feature.

The app has two downsides. First, the stacked keyboard design is at times counterintuitive -- kids sometimes have to descend the keyboard to play an ascending pitch (this is not the case in the other keyboard design). Second, it's surprising to find kid-accessible buttons to share the app via Facebook and email on an app deigned for this age range.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Sing along while your child plays a song. It's great modeling and will help kids with pitch recognition and to make visual and aural connections with the music.

  • Ask your kids to play music along with a story to help score the action or dialogue.

App details

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For kids who love music and creativity

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