Reviewed by A.Taylor SLPA
Kitty Likes Learning, by KatzApps, is a fun, educational app designed for preschool-aged children that reinforces early learning skills such as associations and logic. Students complete tasks and earn puzzles as rewards. Clearly not new to the preschool app scene, KatzApps has created many apps for this age group ( Kitty Likes Learning, Kitty Likes Learning Lite, Spot the Difference with Kitty, Hidden Objects with Kitty, Preschool Holidays Puzzle, Preschool Kitty, Preschool Christmas Kitty, Preschool Kitty Puzzle, SpiderRiderz, Preschool Eduplay Complete, Preschool Eduplay Lite, Preschool Patterns ) as well as two apps in other categories (SpiderRider Z and 1-Click Memo). I see this knowledge of what works for preschoolers in this app, and as a parent of a young child, and an educator, I especially appreciate the childproof settings!
covers a variety of preschool skills/basic concepts (colors, simple associations, logic, position words, some/all, matching, function , part to whole correspondence,visual/spatial/motor skills)
topics: animals, plants, logic, where?, sea, nature, and vehicles
clear verbal explanations given for each task
hints/help during play
tracks progress of up to 5 players
customized name- record the child’s name to be used during game play
built in reward system- puzzles awarded for solved tasks
“childproof” feature- press and hold to access the settings, social media and users tabs
3 levels of puzzle play- 4, 6, or 9 puzzle pieces
Customizable settings are a big plus when looking for educational apps, and Kitty Likes Learning delivers with options! Music, which can be motivating for some students but very distracting for others, can be easily switched on or off through the Settings tab. Verbal instructions and game instructions can be also be turned on or off. The puzzle pieces can be set to 3 different levels of play, and the frequency of praise and rewards can be controlled as well. For my most distracted students, the ability to reward after each answer is very much appreciated.
Sample game tasks:
Find a home for each animal.
It meows, it purrs, it has whiskers. Who is it?
Find each animal’s favorite food.
Find the matching shadow.
Find the same image.
Which animals lay eggs?
Find the make-believe animals.
Which skin belongs to which animal?
Which animal has the wrong color?
Find the corresponding half.
Find the corresponding plant.
Find the vegetables that are growing underground.
Find all the vegetables.
Select all the red fruits.
Which vegetable makes you cry when you cut it?
Which fruits have pits?
Which boot appears only one time?
Find the corresponding piece.
Find the same shape with the same color.
Find the matching glove.
Find the hidden objects.
Find the matching piece.
Find the same shell.
Find to whom it belongs.
Find the image that is different.
Which vehicles are moving to the left?
Find the image where the red car is in front of the yellow one.
Find the bottle that is upside down.
Select the shape of the planet earth.
What will keep you warm on a cold day?
Find the right object for each season.
Which is the slowest way to travel?
Which vehicle needs gas to go?
What do you have to wear when you ride a bicycle?
To begin play, the child taps the Play button/Kitty icon. If the User needs to be changed, an adult can press and hold the User button to switch to an existing child or to add a new User. Kitty Likes Learning allows up to 5 users to be entered. The games cover topics such as Animals, Plants, Logic, Positional concepts (labeled “Where ?” in the game), Sea, Nature and Vehicles. Each set has a verbal instruction the child must follow.
For each task, audio instructions are voiced, and the child is shown a set of images. Some of the tasks will show a field of four responses, others will show six. To hear the label for each image, There is a red audio icon in the bottom right hand corner of each image that can be tapped. Touching the center of any image will select it. A gray box will surround the first image until a second image is touched. Some tasks may require one, two, or more images to be touched for a correct response. For example, in the “Find a Home” set, the child must find the home that matches each animal by tapping on the animal and then its matching home. (mouse/mouse hole, caterpillar/leaf etc.) If the two cards are a match, the boxes surrounding the two cards will turn green and a silly sound will play; if they are not a match the boxes will turn red and a silly sound will play. I really appreciate that only color is used to show a task is incorrect, instead of a frown face, for example, and no verbal admonition is given. The child can tap the speak icon in the top left hand corner to repeat the verbal instructions at any time. There is also a help feature. If the child taps the eye icon in the top left corner, the correct answer(s) will flash on the screen briefly.
After a correct response, verbal praise such as “Great Job” will be given. (Frequency can be adjusted in the Settings to either be given after each screen, every 2nd screen, or at the end of a set.) The child can progress through the set of tasks by clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the page. As an educator I like that I can go back to the previous page to discuss a response with a student, or skip ahead to the next task if desired. As the child responds by touching the correct images, a progress bar will show how many answers have been completed correctly. When a reward is earned, the child will be prompted to pick a sticker to put in his/her collection. These stickers can be accessed through the main screen under the Rewards/Puzzle Icon.
Using the Rewards/Puzzle section
The rewards section is where the child’s earned puzzles are stored. If the child taps the puzzle icon at the top left of the page, audio instructions will play, “Tap an image in order to play the puzzle game” A feature I enjoy here is that the puzzle “stickers” are also movable. I can tap it once to open and play the puzzle, or instead, I can tap and drag an icon to move it to a new location. This means I can rearrange the location of the puzzles on the screen and sneak in some impromptu language learning of positional words by asking my student to “Touch the puzzle under the _____” or “Find the puzzle next to the _____”. Of course, I can also work on other basic skills such as categorizing, identifying by function etc. as well here, “Show me the animal with feathers” or Touch something that belongs inside”.