Are you getting a little one ready to start school or go back to school? MiniSchool would be a great way for young learners to review and practice some essential academic skills before heading back. With both math and reading practice, this app hits some important early learning skills.
MiniSchool by Divine ApS for iPad, iPhone and iPod is a nice academic app aimed at children aged four to eight. It stretches from word identification to learning how to multiply, so children in the given age range will find something to do. This ocean themed app focuses on six main skills: Learn Math, Play with Words, Learn the Time, Learn to Rhyme, Learn to Multiply, and Learn the Colors. Each game has three different difficulty levels that can be chosen at the start of the game. Additionally an octopus and lobster give directions and help throughout each level.
In the Learn Math game, children must feed Peter the Pelican by practicing basic addition and subtraction facts. After solving a math fact, children must feed Peter either the right amount of fish (easier) or the fish with the correct answer (harder). In Play with Words, users must solve several vocabulary word challenges. Each game revolves around a set of words. Captain Walrus will ask players to identify pictures of a given word, match words, and identify words. The Learn the Time game asks players to set an analog clock to a given digital and spoken time. Phrases like 'half-past' and 'quarter-to' are used in conjunction with the digital time.
The Learn to Rhyme game has players find a picture that rhymes with a given word and image. Some of the rhymes were a bit of a stretch, for example: ribbon and lemon. In the Learn to Multiply game, children spin a pinwheel to create a multiplication problem. To solve the problem, they choose the correct numbers from the pinwheel and enter them on the sign. Children choose which times table they would like to practice. The Learn the Colors game is a painting game where children can tap to paint and save pictures of sea animals.
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MiniSchool has a lot of different skills to practice and I liked that it gave users a choice of difficulty levels. The graphics are very well done and are engaging for young children. I did find the speed of play a little bit slow, as the octopus repeats the directions and questions each time. On the other hand, she also repeats the finished problems so that users here the entire correct problem said aloud. This is a good learning strategy.
I really liked the Learn to Rhyme game, as it's tough to find good rhyming apps. However, some of the word pairs were a bit of stretch. I don't consider lemon to rhyme with ribbon or skeleton. The Learn Math and Learn to Multiply games are great for students ready to independently practice those skills, and the Learn the Time game would be good for children practicing correct hand placement on a clock. Each game has many tasks to get through and self-adjusts to the user's achievement level.
Overall, MiniSchool is a fun way to practice some back to school skills. It is meant for independent practice of skills and is good for players already confident in each of these activities. The ocean themed games will appeal to young children and will hopefully get them back into the school-time frame of mind.
MiniSchool is availabe for downlaod via the iTunes App Store - iOS Universal
Want to try before you buy ... Lite version availabe
RRP - $2.99/£1.99/€2.69
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.