The app of the week as far as Little Man is concerned is definitely First Words Sampler. This little app is like Flashcards and a game in one. An image appears on the screen, with spaces for the letters to make up the word in a row beneath it. All of the letters for the word appear on tiles scattered around the screen. You need to drag each letter to the correct space.
I’d have thought that this would be too complicated for a 17 month old – but I was wrong! Little Man loves to drag the letters to the spaces and watch them snap into place. When he touches each letter, the app reads it aloud. Then when he has dragged all of the letters for a word into place, the app reads each letter in turn, spelling out the word, before saying what the word is. A little animation plays and enlarges the image.
I am amazed at how well he can drag the letters into place. For some reason though, if he accidentally moves a letter to the top right corner, he can’t manage to pull it back down into place again. When that happens, he picks up my hand as if to say “Help me Mammy”. So I guide his finger and help him move the letter back down. Then we both clap when it snaps into place!
The graphics in this app are simple and nicely done. Each screen is also accompanied by sound effects like the jingle of keys, or the miaow of a cat. In this free version, there are eight different words to work through. Of course you can upgrade to the Deluxe version, which costs €3.99. However, I haven’t done that yet because for now, I think the eight words are enough for Little Man to work with. When I think he needs a bigger challenge though, this is definitely an app I’ll be buying!
UPDATE 27 June 2011: A couple of weeks ago, we bought the Deluxe version of First Words, because this app continued to get so much use in our house. So far I am really impressed with the Deluxe version because it provides a huge range of words and topics, and allows you to choose whether your little one hears the letters as letters or phonics.