Shape Gurus

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Shape Gurus App Poster Image
Geometrical wonderland with big charm and small focus.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to identify and name four shapes and nine colors in 12 languages. Placing shapes in the correct spots sometimes requires kids to think about how the shape's orientation can be rotated to fit, though the app does the actual rotating automatically. Different sorting rules -- sort by color, then by shape -- also give kids practice in matching and flexible thinking. Some puzzles touch on very basic geometry, requiring kids to put two smaller shapes together in a certain way to form a larger one. It would be nice if the narrator's voice didn't overlap itself as kids move shapes around, as it gets irritating and distracting, but the inclusion of multiple languages is a great touch. Shape Gurus lets kids follow a short, visual narrative while using sorting skills to place basic shapes of different colors.

Ease of Play

Simple drag-and-drop interface responds well to little fingers. Difficulty does increase, and kids use trial and error.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

One scene with a mole sitting on a toilet, which then flushes.

Consumerism

There's a small icon on the home page that advertises others apps from the same developer; child gate protects access.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that with Shape Gurus kids sort, match, and classify by shape and color as they drag and drop shapes to complete pictures and set off short animations. The audio track, which announces shape and color, is available in 12 languages, including English (choose British or American), Italian, German, Spanish, French, and Japanese.

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What's it about?

In SHAPE GURUS, sort shapes by color and size, and then drag and drop them to complete pictures to set a short animated sequence in motion. Each puzzle builds on the one before it: Start by putting a circle in place, which turns into an egg. Tap it, and it cracks to reveal a bird that flies up to a tree branch. Drag brown triangles in place to make a nest, and so on. As the journey continues, puzzles get more challenging. A narrator announces the shape's name and color for each correctly placed shape in one of 12 available languages.

Is it any good?

This is a charming, albeit short, journey through a geometrical wonderland. Puzzles range from simple to slightly more complex, but the real excitement comes when kids complete a puzzle to watch the animation and see what happens next. The shapes are very basic (square, circle, rectangle, triangle) and the puzzles are relatively easy, which makes this most appropriate for an early preschool set. The language option makes the app stand out: It's accessible to kids who speak one or more of the 12 available languages, and all kids can learn a few words in a foreign language. Unfortunately, the narrator names each shape and its color every time it's moved, so when kids move shapes quickly, the voice is unintelligible. Also, though the app was designed intentionally to be "non-addictive" -- which is certainly a good intention -- it won't take long for kids to cycle through. Once they have, there's no next step, and the whole journey just starts again. With limited content presented in a nice package, Shape Gurus does a small thing but does it pretty well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about shapes and colors kids see all around them: the orange rectangle rug, the purple circle clock, the red hexagon stop sign, and so on.

  • If kids show interest in one of the foreign languages available, help them explore their interest and learn more words and phrases.

  • Encourage kids to make up stories about each picture they complete.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: geometry, grouping, shapes
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: part-whole relationships, solving puzzles
  • Price: $1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: August 12, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 55.20 MB
  • Publisher: Colto
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up

For kids who love shapes

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