Playful animated videos that teach the meaning of new words
What we’d love to see…
Words to be introduced in increasing levels of difficulty, spelling from left to right only, more explicit prompts to help teach how to blend sounds
An engaging and outstanding multi-game app that teaches children how to spell, read and learn new vocabulary words that are beyond their school levels
Wonster Words Learning by 77Sparx Studio recently had a major upgrade to give children a new learning and play experience while retaining the same fun and playful approach that appeals to children.
From just Word Families, the app now engages learners through Stories, Math, Science and, Art and Music to teach students phonics, spelling and vocabulary. While the Phonics Word Families and Stories teach students new words by spelling and sounding them out, words introduced in the Math, Science and, Art and Music sections are taught by sight.
Before your child begins to play, I would recommend you to switch to the option to learn words in lower case in the settings as upper case letters are the default (unless you prefer to use upper case). You can also opt to turn off the music background in the app.
There are currently 11 word families included in the app. Each word family introduces 8 words from the word family that are of mixed levels of difficulty. For example, the ‘at’ word family has the words splat, brat, rat, copycat, cat, flat, acrobat and bat instead of the usual simple CVC words like bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat and vat.
For each word, students are prompted to complete the word puzzle, from left to right, using the freely floating animated letters. But kids can also piece the word puzzle in random order. They can hear the associated phonic sound as they drag and drop each animated letters. Tapping on the letters in the word puzzle also produces the phonic sound. But once the animated letter is put in place in the word puzzle, the letter name is read out instead of the phonic sound. So kids get to learn both the letter name and sound.
After the word has been put together, a fun animated video clip featuring the Wonster characters is played to demonstrate the meaning of the word. For simpler words, a mini-game based on the word will start.
More words are introduced in the 11 original Wonster stories that revolve around popular children’s themes like birthdays, friendships, adventures, nature and space. Words relating to the theme of the story are taught following the sequence of the story. Word puzzles are also used here to reinforce the letter names and sounds. Again playful animations help define the meaning of each new word. What proved to be a hit with my youngest were the mini games that he was rewarded with as he built more words along the story path.
For this update, the developers added puzzles and mini-games covering Math & Logic, Science & Nature, and Art & Music from their award-winning Puzzingo app to further build students’ vocabulary. I think it is meaningful for children to learn new words in context when these are grouped according to themes.
Math & Logic Puzzles
Science & Nature Puzzles
Art & Music Puzzles
Wonster Words excels in a few important ways. The animation video used to demonstrate the meaning of words are very well done. I like that there are lots of humor and playfulness in the videos to engage young learners. Plus there are some memorable comments (like “It’s easier to unwrap than to giftwrap” and “Never give up on the things that are important to you” ). Another star feature is the inclusion of many fun mini games related to the vocabulary words to keep learners entertained and interested. There is never a dull moment.
While the word and puzzles are easy to play, the learning content is not preschool materials but chosen to stretch students beyond their years. The words taught are varied in theme and difficulty level. And there are 3 different ways in which children can learn new words – by word families, through stories and themed puzzles. It’s amazing how much new knowledge young children can absorb when given the right tool. They learn difficult words easily when the gameplay is designed at their interest level.
Access to the app’s huge amount of content is through a monthly subscription of $7.99 after a 7-day free trial. A one-time payment for the lifetime all-access Pro version is $54.99. So, start the trial with your child right away and decide which option is the most suitable for your family’s needs before the trial period is over. You may be surprised to see how much your child will be enjoying learning while playing with the app.
8 interesting scenes with a variety of immersive play activities.
What we’d love to see…
Add even more interactive elements to enrich the free-play sessions.
A fun and engaging app that helps build rich vocabulary while encouraging curiosity, active exploration and imaginative play.
Peg and Pog is an interactive app that teaches over 170 vocabulary words in 5 languages as players explore 8 different animated scenes – ocean, polar regions, space, Savannah, store, bedroom, birthday party, and dressing room.
The app turns every play session into an adventure for young children by letting them build each of the 8 scenes with items (animals and objects) associated with the setting, and interact with them. The characters and items of vocabulary are introduced one at a time and children can activate the item and hear the vocabulary word whenever they tap or move it. In addition to these items, players can also explore around the scene to animate more items and learn their names.
For older kids who are ready to learn the written words, the vocabulary words are presented separately on vocabulary cards, with only the picture and the written word on each card. The learning is focused and targeted to build a strong association between the item, its name, the spelling, and pronunciation. Grouping these words in context also helps learners make the connection between the items.
Children become more familiar with each vocabulary word as they play with them repeatedly, and this app offers great replay value. Each of the 8 play scenes is designed for free play where kids can move items around and activate them. This encourages imaginative play where kids can make up their own stories and explore possibilities. There is a lot of activities to keep kids entertained and engaged. They can have a go at the toy capsule vending machine in the store and label the toys that they get. They can pretend to be a DJ, dance to different genres of music or enjoy the food at a birthday party. They can style the characters from the head to toe with superhero costumes or other outrageous outfits for a photo shoot. They can also learn more about the planets, sea creatures and animals. They even get to try new experiences like controlling a husky ride, making the cloud rain, flying in a hot-air balloon, and walking in space!
What I like about this app is that it helps open the window to the world for our children. It makes them curious about the wider world, beyond what they have been exposed to and want to discover more. It presents lots of opportunities for you to help expand their general knowledge. It is also a great conversation starter as you can relate each scene to yours and your child’s real-life experiences. Credit goes to the developer as well for building an awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity, and social inclusion into the app. Everyone can participate equally regardless of their background and abilities.
There is a parents’ guide (in the parents’ section) on the learning points and what you can talk about with your child during the in-app play. It would be great to also include a list of all the vocabulary words introduced in the app for easy reference. In the settings, you can also change the language (UK/US English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Mandarin) and audio (music, sound effects, and spoken words) preferences.
Above all, the app is just pure fun for the kids. The cute characters, movable interactive play items, variety of activities and engaging free-play settings will keep them coming back for more play and learning
Plenty of fun and giggles in this "highly recommended" language learning game for kids. Designed especially to introduce your child to learning everyday vocabulary, and with no in-app purchases or third.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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