Preschoolers ABC Playground Pro

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Preschoolers ABC Playground Pro App Poster Image
Customizable, multilingual letter play made fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn all about letters, including learning letter names, their sounds, how to recognize and write the uppercase and lowercase forms, and a corresponding animal word (for example, A is for "alligator"). Matching upper- and lowercase letters, matching letters to their animal words, and writing freehand or with letter tiles on a drawing board all are possible activities. Kids can take the next step and unscramble letters to spell out whole animal words and can grow through multiple levels of difficulty. Once they've mastered their native language(s), they can change the language settings and learn a bit about letters and animal words in a foreign language. Preschoolers ABC Playground Pro allows both kids and grown-ups a lot of room for choice so the multiple activities and options can truly fit each kid.

Ease of Play

Play itself is crystal-clear, but there's little guidance for navigating all the options.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There are ads for other apps from the same developer in the settings menu, which is protected by a parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Preschoolers ABC Playground Pro gives kids exposure to letter names and sounds and practice with writing letters and words. There are many ways to customize play, including emphasizing letter names vs. sounds, multiple difficulty levels, a timer that locks kids out of the game after a set amount of time, and more. Kids also can practice letters and animal names in seven languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Swedish. There's also a free version that includes some of the activities and only covers letters A through D.

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What's it about?

In PRESCHOOLERS ABC PLAYGROUND PRO, kids write and recognize uppercase and lowercase letters, hear letter names and sounds, and match animal names to their first letters -- and it's all available in seven languages. The six activities include letter tracing, memory style matching, unscrambling letters, and writing on a blank board. As they play, kids earn apples to use in a reward game. Some activities have multiple difficulty levels, and there are many customization options, including hiding the game, setting a timer, using letter names vs. letter sounds, and more.

Is it any good?

Enter a virtual classroom with lots of ways to interact with letters. Using the listening and visual techniques typical of letter-teaching apps, this app adds practice with motor skills (writing) and foreign language. There also are many ways to customize play, which can be empowering or confusing: Create just the right experience for your kid, or get lost trying to figure out just what that perfect experience is. Some guidance could help determine what's right and when to implement it. Also, the letter sounds don't allow for long vs. short vowels or how letters combine to make unique sounds (for example, s and h make a sh sound), which may confuse emerging readers. Followers of strict phonics instruction also might take issue with the way some letters are spoken. For instance, a p shouldn't have a vowel sound after it, as in puh. Overall, however, the variety of activities, customization options, and languages choices elevate this letter-learning app above many others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about letters as they appear in everyday items. Point out letters at the supermarket, on road signs, and in your kids' names.

  • Make letter play truly a multi-sensory experience. Cut large block letters out of wood, card stock, or construction paper and glue things on them to give them different textures (sand paper, tissue paper, cloth, and the like).

  • Talk often about how letters make certain sounds and how those sounds make words. Sound out familiar words, and suggest games such as "Let's see if we can think of a fruit or vegetable that starts with each letter of the alphabet."

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love learning letters

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