Neighborhood Watch Kids and Duh Color Stuff™ is an app designed for the elementary school aged child in a “choose your own adventure” format about five children Arnold, Maya, Johnny, Suzie, Billy and their pet dog Paw as they save the world. The app starts off letting you choose either “I can read” or “read it to me” and then encourages you to pick an avatar from one of the children to follow along in the story. The story starts off in Pinedale, Wisconsin in a town called Watch. The story includes 10 different games, 16 different decision points in the story, and 21 different story endings for a total of 280 pages! The target audience for the app is age 7 to 11, although I would say that it is best suited for a child who has finished first grade. The story features both male and female characters as well as diverse characters which helps again bring home the message about working together no matter what.
Johnny and his pet dog Paw go to the park and overhear adults talking about vandalism where he is presented with his first decision. After making the decision to talk to Arnold, Johnny and he decide to search the playground for clues. By tapping on the screen, you are able to play the first mini game which turns up footprints, a blue print and an ice cream shop flier. Johnny and Arnold find a tree house where they can put the clues up on the board to try to put the various puzzle pieces together. Arnold and Johnny form a friendship and work together to put more items on the tree house and then head to the ice cream shop to try to solve the mystery. where they meet Susie and learn that the ice cream shop has had a theft as well. My son had a bit of trouble finding the objects, but the positive “you are almost there” and clue with the arrow finally helped him find the final clue. After the first two mini games, my son discovered a pattern with two of the items being found during the mini games – “footprints!” The book encourages kids to get help when they need to which encourages them to make the right decision. My son also noticed a theme of “sand” in each of the puzzles which I thought was great for him to notice.
I liked that the avatar you choose kept your place in the story due to the fact that all the decisions contained within the book, reading out of the text and mini games can take upward of an hour, which is quite a long time to play with a reading app. My son and I tested this over the course of two sessions before completing it. I also liked that the app encouraged cooperation with others to encourage success and completion. It also targeted critical thinking as it encouraged kids to look at something and then follow through on solving the problem. I also liked that it presented kids with three different choices and forced kids to make a decision before moving on. I liked that the app encouraged them to think about the decision and what the consequences might be of a decision to the story. The underlying theme of friendship, working with others no matter what their race or ethnicity was a good one and I loved how everyone worked together to solve the mystery.
In terms of enhancements, at times it was a little bit hard to see the text that was being read from the book so it would be nice if the box color could be adjusted. I’d also like to see a bit more help with some of the mini puzzles – I explained how to break the screen down into a grid when tapping but he did have a hard time finding some of the clues. Also, having the clues at the bottom to look for the right shape is important especially for kids to encourage them to stay engaged with the app. I’d love to see word highlighting – this is aimed at older kids but it would allow them to be more “independent” readers as well as a guide that explains “do not do this at home” since many of the activities are ones I would put off limits for my seven year old.
Enjoy a beautifully illustrated digital book with appealing animations and sounds. My son asked me if we could “read again” to finish the mystery and see if making different decisions created a different ending. There are no external links, in-app purchases or social media links. This is a great app that encourages reading with a choose your own adventure theme and will engage kids beyond just reading the words on the page. By inviting them to become detectives, they become engaged and want to be an active part of the story which in turn encourages more comprehension and engagement. This book can engage even the most reluctant of readers and has lots of options to read it over and over again.
The Watch Kids - K12 Life Skills and Good Habitsby Guy Sharon
Category: Education, Adventure, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 996.82 MB
Screenshots(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
Win one of three copies of this app!
a Rafflecopter giveaway