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LumiKids Park by Lumosity, Early Learning Play for Kids
Pros: Imaginative and colorful games that were thoughtfully designed.
Cons: Without account profiles or progress tracking, in-app support is limited.
Bottom Line: Fun and whimsical way to give kids practice with important skills.
LumiKids Park can be a really fun in-class learning center or even a homework assignment. Don't be dissuaded by needing to enter a single kid's age and gender. The games do not seem to differ in any majorly noticeable way based on what you enter, and there's no progress tracking, so just pick something at random and let kids at it. At most, teachers may want to delete and reinstall the game between each kid so that every kid can start at the beginning level and work their way up (a reset button would be a nice addition to be able to avoid this step). Though these games are not an assessment tool, if kids are playing in class, teachers can keep an eye on them for clues as to what skills they might be having trouble with. Expand on the games with in-class activities that tap into the same skill set. Have kids help clean up toys (sorting) and talk purposefully about what they're doing ("we'll put the dress-up clothes here, the blocks there"), engage them in fine motor activities (puzzles, beading, block building, drawing), or play games that require kids to pay attention (e.g., memory, or read books).
Welcome to LumiKids Park, where kids can tap anywhere on the screen to watch silly things happen, or play a game. Each of three games addresses a different basic cognitive skill, and they get more challenging as kids keep playing. Kids must pay close attention as they play hide-and-seek with one –- and later two -– monster critters. Sort colored critters by shape and color, but be careful to follow the changing sorting rules. Maneuver critters around the screen to eat matching colored dots (think Pac-Man). At first, the dots are few and stationary, but pretty soon kids must chase moving dots and avoid bumping into a big blob that will spew out more dots. There's lots of kid-friendly audio, like giggling, and "yay" for correct answers. Before kids can enter the Park, a grown-up must provide the kid's birth month, birth year, and gender, and adults can choose to provide an email address for weekly newsletter updates.
LumiKids Park's graphics and premise are fun and super inviting for little kids. Gameplay is also simple so kids will quickly catch on. There is a nice progression through the games, so that as kids keep playing, the tasks get more challenging, though it won't take long for kids to reach the top "level." Kids learn through trial and error: There are no penalties for wrong answers, and lots of positive feedback, which makes this is a safe, supportive learning environment –- just right for young kids. And, with little explicit instruction, kids will also practice some problem-solving as they figure out the goal of each game. The three games feel a bit limited, though, as kids may quickly breeze through all there is to offer. Still, it's important to remember that LumiKids is free, so there's no harm done in checking it out.