RelationShapes

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
RelationShapes App Poster Image
Stellar puzzler shows how shapes combine to form objects.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about how shapes come together to make new objects and also build their visual-spatial skills as they rotate, resize, and relocate the shapes to match another set of shapes. There is some memory work and plenty of opportunity to be creative.

Ease of Play

Early puzzles will cause little trouble for kids, but having to pinch, zoom, and rotate does get trickier toward the end. Help function is available and isolates a single shape on the screen so kids can see where it should go and in what orientation. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that RelationShapes is a visual-spacial reasoning puzzle app that allows for a lot of creativity in problem-solving and beyond. Kids can match the shapes on both sides of the screen however they wish, and devices with multi-touch allow kids to work cooperatively with a parent or friend. There's also an open-ended creative component to allow kids to create their own artwork. On later levels young kids may start to struggle with the fine motor skills required to pinch, zoom, and twist objects at the advanced levels, making for a great opportunity to work together. Parents can create up to four kid accounts within the "Grown-Up" area that's accessible through a parent gate that requires holding a specific shape down for a number of seconds. Parents can also track kids' progress and access additional activities and printables right within the app. A hint mechanism is in place for kids who get stuck. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

RELATIONSHAPES is a puzzle experience for young kids. The premise is simple: Kids are asked to make the shapes on both sides of the puzzle look the same. They must be the same size, orientation, and location. On early levels, kids simply move the shapes to the matching spots until they snap into place. As the puzzles increase in difficulty, shapes may need to be rotated and/or resized, as well as moved. Sometimes kids need to remember where a shape was before it was hidden. What makes these puzzles more unique is that you can move the shapes on either side of the screen. It's not just a matter of matching what's already there; instead, you can create something entirely new so long as you move the pieces on both sides. With multi-touch screens, you can pair up with a friend or adult to solve the puzzle together. Once the puzzle is solved, players receive a "gift" of a digital sticker that they can add to their creations. They then have the chance to create a piece of artwork with the original shapes and whatever stickers they've collected. By the time the final puzzle is solved, kids have earned stickers with doors, windows, eyeballs, fins, wheels, bubbles, and more. It's like a puzzle version of Colorforms meets tangrams.

Is it any good?

This delightful puzzle journey uses something familiar and incorporates technology to add a new dimension. RelationShapes is the type of experience that's ideal for young kids. With clear goals and few bells and whistles, it won't overstimulate little ones. Ultimately, it encourages them to be creative, to problem-solve, and to have fun. Best of all, it creates a space for parents and friends to join in and make it a more social experience. The multiple profiles are a bonus so more than one kid (or adult) can enjoy, and kids end up with their own gallery of art that they can look back on. This gem is a must-have for your device library, and you certainly can't beat the price.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the geometric figures in RelationShapes and the everyday shapes they see around them. How do different shapes come together to create objects? Which shapes do you see on a house? On a car? In the supermarket?

  • How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could use? If you had to choose the best use of your time on a screen, would you pick this app over other apps on your device for communication? Why, or why not?

  • Practice spatial reasoning in common situations such as packing the trunk or making things fit into the refrigerator.

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App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Math: patterns, shapes
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: part-whole relationships, solving puzzles, spatial reasoning, thinking critically
    Creativity: making new creations
    Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: January 25, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 131.00 MB
  • Publisher: Vizuvizu LLC
  • Version: 1.1.86
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 2.3 and up

For kids who love geometry and STEM

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