is a new iOS app from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and it is a beautiful app ready for you and your children to explore together!
This is a departure from most apps – it is not a book, not a game, not a “teaching” app, not a maze – what it IS is a rich playground for exploration, discussion, and imagination.
Spot provides a very open-ended collection of interlinked worlds which, at their core, seem to thrive in the dots on a ladybug’s back. There are undersea places, robot-rich worlds, cat-filled communities and more.
Ease of Use
Navigation is as simple as pinching on the screen and there is no wrong way or order to explore. Each time the app is used a different path can be discovered and new objects and illustrations can be examined and enjoyed.
Spot is spoken-language-free. There is no voice-over so children and their adults can have conversations in the language they choose. There are some signs and papers and such with English words, but these are minimal.
Look and Feel
The illustrations are not childlike and we like this. So many apps for children are flat and colorful for color-sake these illustrations are not babyish or “cartoons”. The depth of detail will intrigue and engage children and provide opportunities for many “what next?” and “Wows” in surprise. The worlds may inspire children to draw their own secret worlds of surprise.
This is not an app format most people will have experienced. At first glance the ease of managing/using this app may lead one to think this is a simple and quick app with little “reuseability”. Don’t be fooled, we think there is much more to this app. We think the app’s maker recognized this as they have provided a free download of an iBook exploring the possibilities for parents and teachers – find it in the iBooks Store (David Wiesner’s Spot: A Parent and Educator Guide), it is free.
This app left us wanting more – more apps like this one.
How to Maximize this App
Oh my! Plop your favorite child on your lap or cuddled up next to you on the couch and begin exploring. Follow their lead. Ask about what they see, what they think, what they wonder… Laugh together, tell stories and imagine yourselves in the worlds of this app.
Here are some Ideas:
Here are some questions to get you thinking (depending on your child’s interest, age and language abilities):
- What do you see? (Then ask about details… )
- Where is the ____? (a sort of ISpy game lead by you or your child)
- What would it be like to be in this place? (or to be this ____ (cat, robot, dog, etc…)
- What do you think is happening here? What do you think might happen next? What happened just before?
- How would you feel if…?
- What do you think this place would (smell like?, feel like?, sound like?)
- What might be like this in our house? at our beach? under our chair?
- Do you think we can make (draw, paint, sculpt) a little world of our own…
- Shall we make up our own story?
Remember, let your child lead when they can… join their amazing journey!
$3.99 Available for iOS
Here is a trailer for the app: http://youtu.be/vx3TNPSNffM