Reviewed by Mary
KIZ Wood Shapes is a universal app by BuxPod, it is available in iTunes and also available for Android through Google Play and the Amazon App Store. It is an app designed for the youngest of app user and is based on the concept of a wooden shape sorter. Buxpod was founded by two Italian mobile app developers who are also the father’s of very young children.
The core of the app is a shape sorter puzzle- the 2D pieces look like colorful wooden shapes and a new pattern of shapes is generated each time you play, so it is a slightly different
challenge each time.The shapes include circles, triangles, squares, diamonds, and rectangles. Once the pattern is generated, the shapes fall out and into a box. From there the child can drag and drop them into the correct spot. If they get it in the right place it drops into place with realistic sound effects and sparkles. If they try to put it in the wrong spot there is just a knocking sound like wood tapping on wood. As this is designed for babies and toddlers, it is a simple drag and drop, and there is no need to change the orientation of the piece for it to fit. Once the puzzle is completed the child gets a round of applause before a new puzzle appears. There is a gentle, relaxing, musical soundtrack playing in the background, and both music and sound effects can be turned off in settings. There are also options to skip or re-start the current puzzle.
The second feature of the app is the “baby” section – this is a”bonus feature” which requires you to share on Facebook to unlock it. In this feature the child can play with the shapes- moving them by tilting the iPad, flicking, bouncing or spinning them. When the shapes bump into each other they create sparkles and sound effects. This feature is simple enough to be used by babies who are too young for the shape sorter feature.
This is a very simple app for young users. The cost of the app can be justified by the visually appealing interface with the wooden look and sounds, and the bright, colorful pieces. The random shape generator that introduces a new puzzle every time is a nice feature as it stops the child from just memorizing the particular pattern, and keeps it interesting. We do have some suggestions that we would like to see in a future update. Firstly, the Facebook links seem a little out of place in an app targeted at young children so we would like to see the Facebook Like button removed or childproofed, and the bonus feature not require Facebook sharing to unlock it. It would also be nice to have some levels in the app- for the very early users a level with just 1-3 large shapes, then other levels with increasing numbers of shapes in each level. At the highest level it would be good to add an option to have the pieces rotate or have a timer to race against, as these would allow it to appeal to preschoolers as well as infants and toddlers. I have spoken to the developers and they do plan to remove the bonus lock in the next update.
If you are looking for a simple, easy to use app for very young children, that has the look of a wooden shape sorter, but with a new puzzle each time you play, KIZ Wood Shapes may be just what you are looking for.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Cost: $1.99 iTunes (11.0MB)
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