By Valerie Blackwell, Contributor
Disney’s latest educational offering is Jake’s Never Land Shapes and Patterns. Created for children ages 4 and up, this iPad app presents a fun way for younger children to learn about shapes and patterns and offers older children the chance to reinforce the skills they have already learned.
Players will be able to easily navigate between three different modes: Twilight Treasure Hunt, Jake’s Shapes and Games and Pirate Puppets.
In story telling mode, Twilight Treasure Hunt, children are invited to go on an adventure with Jake and his friends. On their way, they are presented with obstacles or games which have to be played in order to continue the story. And when they are finished with the story, they can choose Jake’s Shape Games, where the same games can be played over and over. Children are rewarded with gold doubloons and pirate outfits which can be later used in Pirate Puppets.
I have a two and a half year old son who is just learning his shapes. Even though he is younger than 4, I showed him Jake’s Never Land Shapes and Colors to see if the app is an effective learning tool. He was too young for the story, but was able to participate in two of the three shape learning activities, matching shapes and shape tracing.
In Matching Shapes, children have to pick and drag the shapes that match the ones pictured. I was amazed that my son was able to do this.
Pirate Patterns was too hard for him. This games teaches children how to predict patterns and is better suited for a pre-k or kindergarten aged child.
The third game, Shape Tracing, is what it sounds like. My son was able to do this with assistance.
I really like that my son and I were able to play the individual games without having to go through the whole story. And children familiar with the Jake and the Never Land Pirates brand will enjoy seeing familiar characters. Even though the app is recommended for children 4 and up, toddlers can definitely benefit from playing the games with supervision. The repetitive game music can get a little annoying after a while, so parents will like that they’re able to turn it off. Another positive for this app are the two difficulty settings. In the easier setting (which I used with my son) the names of the shapes are repeated often, creating many opportunies for younger children to learn simple skills. In the harder setting, there is an emphasis on predicting and completing patterns, an important mathematical skill set.
Jake’s Never Land Patterns and Shapes is available in the App Store.
Thank you for Disney Apps for providing a complimentary code to try the game.