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Puku: Learn New Words

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Puku: Learn New Words App Poster Image
Cute vocab builder with custom lists, some limits.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can grow their vocabulary in general as well as practice vocab lists in specific topics.

Ease of Play

Missing explanation on best way to share/import lists.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puku: Learn New Words is an educational app from Merriam-Webster designed to help kids 8-12 learn new words. The app supports multiple profiles allowing each player to track their own progress. Each profile is assigned an age which determines the words, but the first list all kids encounter is the same in order to let them get the hang of it. The app supports user-created lists but lacks a tutorial/guidance on doing so. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

PUKU: LEARN NEW WORDS from Merriam-Webster encourages kids to build their vocabularies by drilling them on groups of words, their definitions, and their spellings. For each group of words, kids will need to complete a series of activities like finding the word that matches the given definition, choosing a synonym, completing the spelling of a word, and fill-in-the-blank. They will need to correctly complete a certain number of activities for each word. When they answer correctly, in-game creature Puku grows a bit, and they fill some of his meter on the side of the screen. When his meter is full, he evolves and the meter is reset. It also has the option for creating custom lists of five or more words from the dictionary. Kids might use this feature to study for tests. The lists are shareable via link/email, but require kids to click on a link outside the app.

Is it any good?

Vocab flashcards are all grown up in this experience as kids help colorful creature Puku develop and evolve as they develop and evolve their own language skills. Puku: Learn New Words helps kids build their vocabulary with new words they may not be exposed to on a regular basis. But what makes Puku: Learn New Words most useful is the ability to create custom word lists using dictionary definitions. This allows kids to practice their own spelling words or vocabulary words from classes like science, art, music, and math. While the built-in definitions make it quick and easy to create custom lists, there's a limitation if you want to include words not in the built-in dictionary. The app would be even more powerful if it allowed user-added words and definitions. Teachers can create lists and share them with the class, but sharing/importing lists isn't as convenient as it could be. It requires users to click on a link outside of the app in order to add the custom list.  Puku: Learn New Words doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it's engaging and easy to use. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the vocabulary they learn from Puku: Learn New Words. Why is it important to learn new words? How can that help you in the future? Try adding a family word of the day or word of the week that you learn together.

  • Families can talk about learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why or why not? What can you learn?

App details

For kids who love vocabulary and spelling

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