Wow... Nearly two years have passed since my last blog post! I've been busy in that time, just not publishing. Time to fix that!
My last blog post introduced sensory, a very simple cause and effect light show app. I created it for TheInvaderOne (my now two and a half year old daughter), and decided to share it with the world. It's not some groundbreaking app, it's a simple "fireworks display" that reacts to touch input - something to entertain young children and those with certain special needs (particularly children with autism). I expected maybe a couple of hundred installs and a low star rating, it was a pleasant surprise to see it at 37,000+ installs and an average rating of 4.1 out of 5!
As TheInvaderOne grows, her taste in apps becomes a little more demanding. A couple of months ago I created a simple "Count 1 to 10" app for us to play together. Last weekend I cleaned it up a little, added a few extra languages (we concentrate on English and Welsh, but I figured a few other languages like French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese could be of interest to other users, and to us a little later on) and finally got round to publishing it!
The app has been kept as simple as possible so that a child can play without accidentally exiting too easily or getting bogged down in menus. It is a simple app that uses android immersive mode, and has no menu or options screens - just start the app and you're straight in. Along the bottom of the screen you'll find the number buttons 1 to 10, tap a number button to display that amount of items in the middle of the screen, hear the number spoken aloud in the chosen language, and see the number symbol overlay the item table in a large clear font. Top left is the language select button, tap to cycle through the available languages. Top centre is a volume control slider, slide left to reduce/mute the sound, and right to increase volume (note you need your device volume to be on too!). Top right is a small close button, tap this to exit the app. All settings are saved, so the next time you open the count from one to ten app your preferred language and volume settings will be set automatically.
Count 1 to 10 is a very simple app designed for young children, the main aim being to help teach early years numeracy - linking together numeric symbols, the spoken word for that number in the chosen language, and the quantity of items represented by that number. The way we use it, it also helps teach various first words relating to colours, animals, fruits, and vegetables. I don't start the app and hand the device over to TheInvaderOne to entertain herself, we sit together, tap a number button, then when a randomly generated scene matching that number appears we discuss what we see. So, say we tap "3", and as a result the word "three" is spoken aloud by the app, and three red tomatoes are displayed on screen, we'll both repeat the word "three" aloud, and she might shout out "three tomatoes!", I'd then congratulate her on getting the number and item correct, and ask for more information - what colour are the tomatoes? Does she like tomatoes? In this case the answer would be along the lines of "Mmmmmm! Three big red tomatoes! I like tomatoes! Yummy!". At this point we might go off on a tangent and talk about what we might eat with tomatoes, or maybe I'd pose a simple math question along the lines of how many tomatoes would there be if I took one away, or maybe we'd just hit another number button and start discussing the two big brown horseys, or the four little white ducks, or the eight orange carrots... This all boils down to the app being better used as a jumping off point for collaborative play/learning than a standalone toy for the child to play with on their own, though that is another valid use case for it.
I've made this app available for free on google play. Hopefully some of you out there will find it of value and leave a nice rating and review :)
I hope to be back soon with news of some more games!