Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014
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Domi Domi Blocks

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Simple, appealing pattern-matching game lacks depth, variety

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-K
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Pros: Appealing graphics and easily accessible gameplay engage kids.

Cons: Puzzles are repetitive and learning potential seems limited.

Bottom Line: Pattern-recognition and pattern-creation puzzles are fun, but repetitive.

The most common early-math learning activities are pattern recognition, spatial sense, and color matching, making Domi Domi Blocks most useful for PreK-K math-skills practice. Kids should play individually, although there's no need for individual accounts or profiles; they can easily play a few puzzles and pass the device to a classmate. Teachers should consider ways to deepen learning by continuing the themes off-screen: Look for patterns in the real world, talk about colors, or replicate patterns using geometric blocks.

The simplicity of the task, attention to detail, and repetition make this an accessible game to try with some kids with special needs. Teachers can also expand the musical theme by exploring scales, pointing out that each note sounds a little different than the one before and after it, or making and playing simple musical instruments.

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Kids start with two grids, side by side. One grid is filled in with a pattern of colored squares, and the other is blank. Kids tap colored blob characters to fill the blank grid with the same color pattern as the sample. At completion, a hidden picture is revealed. The 40 puzzles are divided into five groups ordered by grid size. Grids in the first groups are 3 x 3, the second groups' grids are 5 x 5, and the last groups' grids are 6 x 6.

There’s also a musical element: When kids choose the wrong color, the blob shakes its head and says, "uh-uh." But when kids tap the correct blob, they hear a note on a one-octave scale (e.g., do, re, mi, and so on). Adults can turn off the music and sound effects, and also erase progress tracking (i.e., delete the hidden pictures kids have collected).

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Attractive graphics and a simple premise will appeal to young kids who must pay close attention to the pattern in the sample grid, orient themselves spatially within the grids, and coordinate and match colors in the correct order. The progression of levels isn't smooth, but provides opportunity for challenge nonetheless.

Since all levels are open at all times, kids get to decide how much of a challenge they want, and some kids may get lost in the bigger grids before they're ready. Others, especially older kids, might lose interest before they get through all 40 levels of essentially the same activity. More depth and/or variety could help. The color grids and the musical notes seem like unrelated themes. It would be nice to see the musical aspect more developed, perhaps with more direct musical instruction or opportunities for musical exploration and experimentation.

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Overall Rating

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

Appealing graphics and straightforward gameplay make for a clean, enjoyable experience. Puzzles may be fun, but with no variety, they can also get boring.

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

Kids attend to and replicate patterns using spatial orientation and color matching. Kids can access multiple levels, with grids of varying sizes, at any time. There's also an underdeveloped musical element.

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

Little how-to help is available, but once kids get it, play is easy and accessible. Kids see progress as they collect hidden pictures. Learning extensions, more variety, or other educational supports could deepen learning. 


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