App Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Shapes

Our favorite hero from Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is here to guide your child through an exploration of early math concepts.

The game starts out simple, asking children to match shapes. Puzzle by puzzle, children encounter increasingly difficult steps to the game. The caterpillar will perform a fun animation when the puzzle is completed.

Once your child masters shapes, they'll have the opportunity to sort by shape or color, followed by arranging in color gradients, sizes, patterns. The game also involves picking up shapes from a (slowly) moving train, jigsaw puzzles and tangrams.

While you play with your child, say the names of the shapes. Try to help your child work through their difficulties with open-ended questions instead of direct guidance.

The app designs immediately lends itself to problem-solving. There are no words explaining how to play, allowing children to jump right in and figure it out. Throughout play, soothing background music is playing and familiar scenes from Carle's books appear. Children are gradually challenged, managing levels of frustration. When a child is incorrect, the app calmly points out the mistake and allows the child to try again.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Shapes from StoryToys is available on Apple devices for $4.99 and Android for free with in-app purchases.

*Remember, as with all media, it's best if you and your child play together. The American Pediatrics Association recommends that children ages 2 to 5 have a trusted adult to relate what they're seeing to the world around them. They also suggest that screen time be limited to one hour a day for this age group. For more information, take a look at their recommendations for media usage.

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