PianoBall - Fun With Learning

Common Sense Media says

Colorful piano game for little hands is big fun.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The Facebook and emailing buttons on the support page are not sufficiently protected with a child lock. Little ones could accidently access Facebook or the device's email client.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Arts

  • playing
  • rhythm
  • improvising and music analysis
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Communication

  • listening

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology
  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The colorful and inviting piano interface is multitouch/polyphonic and offers four different sounds for play-along of free-style playing. Ten songs give litte ears and hands plenty of room to grow with.

Learning Approach

Learn basic music concepts and colors along an engaging and colorful eight-key piano keyboard. The app stimulates curiosity and creativity, encourages concentration, and enhances hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Support

Easy to use with a colorful, kid-friendly interface. In-app support glosses over features. The stacked keyboard interface is suitable for infant hands, but counterintuitive for teaching toddlers musical intervals and scales.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • sequences

Arts

  • playing
  • rhythm
  • improvising and music analysis
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Communication

  • listening

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology
  • digital creation

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Kim Alessi

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$1.99
Release date:August 16, 2012
Category:Music Games
Topics:Music and sing-along
Size:18.00 MB
Publisher:4baam
Version:1.4
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.1 or later

This review of PianoBall - Fun With Learning was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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