A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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.
Products & Purchases
On the support page, links encourage parents to share the app on their Facebook pages or email friends.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.