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Bugs and Bubbles
Pros: Adaptive learning technology challenges kids at appropriate levels.
Cons: Some gestures may be tricky for little hands.
Bottom Line: Great bang for the buck with all the content and stages included.
Three levels of six games each get increasingly challenging and cover pre-reading skills, early math skills, fine motor skills, and STEM-oriented thinking. Bugs and Bubbles could be used as a center activity or for independent work with built-in differentiation. To set up multiple users, teachers will need to go to the settings on their device, choose the app, and select Enable under user profiles. The default is set to Off.
In Bugs and Bubbles, kids work their way through three stages of six games each or choose "explore" to select any stage and game. Kids will match and trace letters, complete patterns, and identify and sort objects to develop early learning skills. They'll count objects and balance scales to work on math skills. They'll use physics and fine motor skills to stack shapes, race bugs, and roll and bowl with roly-poly bugs. And they'll practice critical thinking skills through games like memory and Bubble4 (like Connect Four). Each game uses adaptive learning technology to increase the challenge as needed. Most games end when kids get a wrong answer; others run on a timer. Each mini-game ends with a "Way to go!" or "Good job!" of encouragement, and kids earn stickers for the mini-games they master.
Bugs and Bubbles is impressive for several reasons. Teachers will appreciate the realistic graphics and beautiful classical music, while the variety of fun games will entertain kids as they learn important skills in math, reading, critical thinking, and science. Bugs and Bubbles is a great example of gamified learning. Kids are having fun playing with bugs and earning stamps while learning -- in each and every game. The variety of mini-games will keep kids engaged for quite a while, and the adaptive learning technology adjusts the level to keep kids challenged at the appropriate level. There's no teacher dashboard for checking kids' progress, but a quick check on the page of game options shows the score for each game. The hand that silently shows kids how to complete new tasks is effective on some games, but some (like racing) may require teacher instruction.