Reviewed by Mary
Letter Dino is a Universal app from Dutch app developer Tizio, who are known for their high quality children’s book apps such as Finn’s Paper Hat and No Dogs Allowed. It is an interactive game designed to help children learn the alphabet whilst having fun.
The game is set in Dinoworld, and the child controls their own Little Dino. Tapping on Little Dino before the game starts will change both Little Dino’s color and his clothes. You can choose from 3 levels of difficulty and work on letter names or phonics. The controls are quite intuitive- if the child moves their finger across the screen Little Dino will follow it, they can also make him jump by tapping 2 fingers on the screen. As Little Dino moves around Dinoworld he meets other Dinosaurs who will ask him to do various tasks. There are 4 main challenges- all marked by colored shafts of light. The yellow task is the easiest – Little Dino has to jump into Crystal Blue Dino Lake and collect all the letters of the alphabet (in any order). As he runs up to each letter its name is spoken, and when all the letters are collected there are fireworks, music, Little Dino dances, and the child earns three stickers for their book. In the green task children learn about the correct order of letters – they have to point a boat the the right letter as they go through the alphabet in the correct order. The blue task involves identifying the correct letter. Letters float past in the sky and Little Dino has to throw snowballs to knock down the right letters.The red task ” Master of the Alphabet” involves hunting through the forest to find the right letters and bring them back. When the correct letter is found it’s name is spoken. There is an arrow to show the child the right direction to go, which is useful as the letters can be quite well hidden. In the Easy level there are 7 letters to find increasing to 21 in the Hard level. The child can explore Dinoworld as they wish, and meet and interact with other Dinos as they do so. The other Dinos often ask Little Dino to play with them or do a job for them, and the child can earn extra stickers this way.
When I first downloaded Letter Dino I thought it was a great concept, but that it needed refinement – the controls weren’t very easy for a child to use, and there were bugs which meant my kids quickly got frustrated when trying to play it. I gave Tizio I list of the issues I had with the app and my recommendations, and they set about fixing them all. They have fixed all of the problems: the controls are now simple and intuitive, the game works really well, they are even working my my last wish list item – adding a map of Dinoworld. Now my children really enjoy playing this app and ask for it. This is a great app for children learning their letters, but it is fun for older kids too. Having three levels of difficulty means you can adjust the challenge to suit the child. My five year old twins know all their letters, but playing with this app is helping to teach them letter order too, and they have a lot of fun doing so. This app is an incredibly good deal for the price- it has a whole 3D world for kids to explore, fun mini-games and learning at the same time. As well as working on letter recognition, phonics and letter order, the app is also good for working on fine motor skills. Highly recommended.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Cost: $2.99 (52.6 MB)
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