Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013
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Bugs and Buttons 2

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Critical thinking and fine motor skills for the pre-K set

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
Pre-K-K This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Engaging mini-games teach valuable pre-K thinking, learning, and motor skills.

Cons: A couple of games may be a bit challenging for preschoolers' small-muscle control.

Bottom Line: Bugs and Buttons 2 is an engaging and well-rounded preschool learning tool.

Bugs and Buttons 2 covers some early academic skills like sorting, matching, and completing patterns, so it can be used as a center activity that doesn't require any setup or tear-down, or for when you need an engaging and challenging activity that only requires a few minutes. The games also are unique in the soft skills they cover and can be used to help kids struggling with listening, focus, and following directions. The "Puppet Show" and "Music Match" games are especially helpful for encouraging careful listening.

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Bugs and Buttons 2 is the sequel to Bugs and Buttons with different games and different skills, but with the same format -- six games at three different levels, each covering early math, pre-reading, and critical thinking skills. Kids can choose a specific activity from among the 18 games or progress through them automatically. They can earn stamps to add to their bug collection via successful gameplay, and they can also earn special stamps for finding and tapping Morty, the game’s bug-guide. Games cover such skills as counting, letter recognition, matching, sorting, listening, following instructions, and developing fine motor skills. Bugs and Buttons 2 uses adaptive learning technology to keep kids appropriately challenged as they play.

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Any of the mini-games in Bugs and Buttons 2 could probably stand on their own, but in this app, you get 18 fun and educational games for a single price –- and it’s well worth the investment. The design reflects an educator’s understanding of the targeted age group, with easy-to-follow visual instructions, fun graphics and music, and engaging games, all of which move at a pace to keep kids learning. There's lots of silliness thrown into the mix, too, like finding Morty hiding in games or witty quips from the bugs. The educational value is high, both for early literacy and for such essential pre-K skills as listening and following directions. In many of the games, kids will also develop tech and fine motor skills as they learn and use different touch-screen gestures. Adaptive learning technology, which increases the games’ level of difficulty based on kids' performance, keeps them challenged. User profiles can be enabled in the app's settings. A disembodied hand demonstrates the gestures used for each game and can be replayed by pausing and selecting "instructions."

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Fun games entertain kids, and impressive graphics mix realistic-looking bugs and cute buttons. Finding Morty, the narrator bug, adds another element of fun and challenge.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Each game focuses on an early literacy skill. Adaptive learning technology increases difficulty based on kids' performance. Skills, such as sorting, counting, and matching, transfer seamlessly for traditional learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

User profiles can be enabled in the app's settings. A hand demonstrates the gestures used for each game and can be replayed by pausing and selecting Instructions.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Ellen P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
3
Visually beautiful app that needs some tweaks

I love this app. It's beautiful and has some great content. The instructions are great. I use it as an introduction to iPads for students who lack iPad experience and for children who need some fine motor strengthening. The game "pond jumper" is very challenging and fun for children with these needs. But most of my students don't like the app as much as I do. They lose interest quickly. The app starts each game at the most basic level and students must work through the low levels to get to the higher ones. Unfortunately they lose interest before this happens. This app would be fantastic if it had settings that could be modified for student needs. The higher levels are fun and I think the children would like them if they could stay engaged long enough.

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