App review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013
Shape-O ABC's
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Shape-O ABC's

100 gorgeous puzzles inspire kids to keep playing, learning

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Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Simple puzzle and word play with lots of choices and three difficulty levels.

Cons: Kids can't selectively choose colors. No phonetic pronunciations.

Bottom Line: A fun, preschool puzzle app packed with more than 100 puzzles.

Use Shape-O ABC's to help kids practice shape and letter naming, orientation (describing where shapes are located in the puzzle in relation to one another -- for example, "the circle is above the triangle" or "the rectangle is beside the square"), as well as color and word identification. The many beautiful puzzles and the variety of objects, animals, and other images incorporated into the puzzles make this app a good exercise in naming and a good vocabulary builder.

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Shape-O ABC's is an early educational puzzle game that includes more than 100 beautiful puzzles. Kids swipe shape pieces into a puzzle to create a picture and swipe letters into the word that names the picture. Three adjustable difficulty levels make the app appropriate for kids from 2 to 7. Kids simply press "Play" on the app's main screen, tap to scroll through pages with dozens of puzzle options, tap the desired puzzle, and begin dragging shapes and letters into the matching shaded portions of the puzzle picture box. They can change colors within the puzzle by tapping a rainbow icon, or tap the eye icon to get a clue about filling in the shapes. The app responds to incorrect letter and shape placement by simply moving them back to the pile for kids to try again. Adults can adapt settings to increase spelling difficulty and puzzle complexity. When a puzzle is complete, kids hear a rewarding sound, listen to a narrator spell and say the word, and see a cute animated picture.

Shape-O ABC's can be a fun and solidly educational classroom preschool and kindergarten tool, especially if teachers use it as a springboard for discussions about color, shape, and letter names, and orientation. Kids can learn letter and word recognition, as well as names of animals and other images when completing the puzzles. On the downside, kids cannot choose colors selectively, and reward graphics aren't related to puzzle images (bees appear when kids complete the tiger puzzle; a frog, when the hamburger puzzle is complete). Both additions would be excellent updates to the creativity and learning potential of this app.

Overall Rating


Colorful graphics and cool sound effects and animations will engage kids as they solve more than 100 puzzles by placing shapes to complete picture and letter puzzles and spell corresponding words.


Kids view shapes and letters and hear a narrator say a letter name (although not the phonetic pronunciation). As kids place puzzle shapes, they see how they fit together to form a picture.


For detailed instructions, the "How to Play" pages must be read by an adult, although there's little need because the user interface and option icons are self-explanatory. The app doesn't provide data on completed puzzles.

Common Sense reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Caitlin M. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Shorecrest Preparatory School
Saint Petersburg, United States
Shape-O ABC's- Colorful puzzles teach young children letters and shapes.
I liked having the ability to change the difficulty settings for both the puzzle and the letters as well as the option to move certain pieces into place if you get stuck. This app is fun, but the puzzle pieces are odd shapes and color combinations, which may confuse more literal minded students. Good variety of puzzles to choose from, but did not appear to be in any particular order.
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