Shape Gurus is an exceptional educational application for iPad made by Colto. Colto is “a play studio based in Milan creating imaginative and educational mobile play experiences for preschoolers around the world” (Colto, 2017). Their philosophy revolves around the belief that “play is the most powerful way for preschoolers to learn” (Colto, 2017). Purposefully creating learning games that stimulate young minds, Colto creates games that are open-ended; free from levels and rules. Colto games encourage young children to explore, role-play, and create (Colto, 2017). In fact, all of their games are play tested throughout the process to assist in design, allowing Colto to make changes in response to observation (Colto, 2017).
Play To Learn
Because playing is important in child development, Colto has made a commitment to creating games that serve this purpose. Children learn physical skills, cognitive concepts, language skills, and social skills through play (UC Davis, 2012). Colto games seeks to encourage these concepts through their game designs. Their team was inspired by Jean Piaget’s theories about child development. They work alongside teachers as well as early child development educators in order to create games that maximize learning through play during one of the most critical periods of child development, the pre-operational stage (ages 2-7).
Based on the US Common Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence, Colto apps teach young children alphabet and phonics, numbers and counting, matching, sorting, classifying, and creative drawing (Colto, 2017). In addition, playing and learning along with Colto means that children learn:
- Key educational skills such as numbers and counting sequences
- The meaning and correct pronunciation of new words and phrases
- Creative problem solving skills
- Creative thinking
- Fine motor skills
- Positive habits in daily life such as regularly brushing teeth
- Positive values such as kindness and compassion
- Role-playing and creating imaginary stories
Shape Gurus focuses primarily on shapes and colors; although, the manipulation of these shapes and colors also teaches early math, geometry, and literacy skills. In addition, Shape Gurus has won 4 awards and features no ads and no in app purchases:
- Editor’s Choice Award 2016
- Parent’s Choice Gold Award 2016
- Best of 2015 Italian App Store
- Best Kids Apps of 2015 – Tech with Kids
While playing Shape Gurus children as young as one year old are able to manipulate shapes into very real things like rocket ships, bird nests, and beehives; all which come to life once the puzzle is complete. Although young children have not quite perfected fine motor skill development, Shape Gurus allows for this by creating puzzles out of shapes that are both engaging and easy to manipulate. Because learning is a natural state for children, naturally wanting to explore the environment and learn about the world around them is something that we, as adults, should nurture and encourage. Shape Gurus does a great job of allowing children to continue their natural inclination to learn via technology while also teaching them early math skills, early literacy skills, and creative thinking.
UC Davis. (2012). Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/CANCER/pedresource/pedres_docs/ChildrenLearnThruPlay.pdf
Colto (2017). Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://www.colto.com/about/
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