App Review: Kids Maps, a Learning App for Honeycomb Tablets That’s Fun! [Video]

September 15, 2011
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    For those that own a Honeycomb tablet, it should still, unfortunately, come as no surprise that there is a shortage of true tablet specific applications on the market. This is especially true for apps designed to help kids learn about the world around them. I was pleasantly surprised that this application was made so well and really, has such a great fit an finish to it. My near three year old daughter had plenty of time working with this application and she found it very enjoyable – as I could tell.

    Functionality

    The interface is pretty and is very straightforward. There are not a ton of customizations or settings like what you’re accustomed to in Android, which is good because this is for children. In the settings menu, there are really only two changes which are “Tips” and “Auto Snap.” The Tips option disables any pop up directions that tell you of the functionality of the application like “Press the green button to start.” Having Auto Snap turned on is great for very small children that are just learning the functionality of a touchscreen and also are not that great at lining up shapes to drop accurately. Auto Snap auto connects the selected state with its location by up to about 1/2″ away without the child needing to lift their finger. If you turn off Auto Snap, the child needs to line it up pretty accurately and lift their finger to confirm that’s the correct location. Other than the two settings in the Settings Menu, the other options are Voice off, and Music off. Turning the Voice off makes the application into more of a puzzle game with geography because the child wont be able to hear the names or state facts and they will have to concentrate on matching shapes. The music really adds a lot of fun to the app for children, and lightens it up and makes it seem less like learning and more playing.

    Features


    There are a couple features that change the learning of the app. There is the option to have your states in alphabetical order, or randomized. When you have it randomized its a great way to test locations of the states for the child, if not their memory on the locations, and its a great way for them to practice matching skills with random state shapes. But once you change it into Alphabetical it assists in teaching the child what letters each state starts with. So its not only a good application for a 2 year old but also a much older child due to the versatility of the learning level. Really there was only one issue in the design of the app that I could pick apart. I live in Seattle Washington, all of the states shapes are pretty spot on, except Washington state. In Kids Maps, Washington looks a lot like a rectangle when in reality it has a very large peninsula on the western side of the state that takes up approximately 33% of the state. So some children might not recognize Washington on a map after using this app. The only other oddity in the app is one of the facts that pops up is that “Virginia is where Tobacco comes from.” My three year old repeated Tobacco, curious what that was about, but I didn’t bother to explain. Other than that all the state facts are pretty acceptable.

    Conclusion


    Overall, the application really impressed me, I consider it to be the best learning app that I’ve encountered on Honeycomb for children so far. My daughter enjoyed it and had a fun time repeating some of the facts aloud to me. Kids Maps app is definitely worth $1.99 to me. Go out and pick it up if you have a child and a Honeycomb tablet that you’re comfortable with them using. 

    Pros

    • Great tablet specific learning app
    • Simple interface
    • Great facts
    • The kids love it

    Cons

    • Washington State is oddly shaped
    • Virginia’s State fact isn’t exactly toddler friendly

    Video

    Have a kid? Have a Honeycomb tablet? Check it out!

    Download Kids Maps for Honeycomb here.

    Comments

    • Anonymous

      ,, awesomee ,,

      I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HTV for only $251.92, they are both coming tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prĂ®ces at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
      I use EgoWĂŻn.com

    • Anonymous

      This app sounds interesting though I do not have a honeycomb tablet (nor an android phone yet, but I hope to have a good one (Nexus Prime perhaps) by the end of the year. At this point as I understand it, apps like this that are more targeted to tablets will run with full functionality on any ice cream sandwich device and if you want to have a smaller than your normal tablet size phone (but still quite large 4.6-5.3″ perhaps), then it is up to you if you just want to hold the device about twice as close to your eyes. There is also the issue of making it finger friendly, but the snap feature described sounds like a good solution given the need for even more precision as the screen size is reduced.

      I hope the program evolves until I can check it out next year – I’d like to see the ability to use real maps and allow the user to make up questions for their kid such as: where is Tenaya Lake? or where are the mountain tops? where are the valleys? The possibilities are endless for tablets (or large phones) and kids I think. Good luck to the author.

      PS I suggest that this site soon work out a good spam solution so that nothing like the other reply in this forum ever shows up and annoys readers. I find the articles well written here, but the number of comments is almost too low (not that I want it to ever get to the level of Engadget mind you.)

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