It’s not unusual to see iPhone apps aimed at young children not quite work out. The intention is usually good, but it has to be a pretty simple concept – not to mention bright and colorful – to really keep their attention.
Sheehan Applications seems to understand this, because their app Let’s Hear the Animals is simple, fun, and as kid-friendly as it gets. The app is automatically in landscape mode – a plus for me with children’s apps, because they seem to have an easier time holding the phone and navigating the screen this way. The main menu allows you to choose either English or Spanish, great for ESL or Spanish language students.
There are six pictures of animals on each screen, and you can swipe to view the next six. Tap an animal to view in full screen, read the name, and hear an automatic audio recording of the name. You can return to the menu, or just tap the arrows to move back and forth through the animals.
After a few dozen animals, the app moves on to four animals per screen. This is when kids will really start to enjoy Let’s Hear the Animals (and when parents will want to invest in some earphones). Tap the animal to hear a real audio recording of the animal itself. A nice touch that I really appreciated was that you don’t have to wait for one animal sound to finish before tapping another animal. You can even tap all four quickly and hear all of them at once. Kids tend to get impatient easily, and making them wait to hear one sound before hearing another would probably cause them to lose focus. If they want to tap the screen frantically and hear the whole menagerie, why not?
I reviewed the free version of Let’s Hear the Animals, which comes with advertisements. Younger children especially would be confused by these, as when the ad pops up, it seems the only button to tap is the one that encourages you to learn more about the ad. Tapping outside of the ad brings up a choice of either getting the app advertised or skipping the advertisement, meaning it would be very easy for your child to accidentally download an app onto your iPhone. However, there is an advertisement free version of Let’s Hear the Animals available for $0.99.
I love that the app is available in both English and Spanish. The two year old I tested Let’s Hear the Animals out on was enchanted with it. Definitely a great learning tool for little ones on road trips – just don’t forget to bring the headphones!
Let’s Hear the Animals! requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch.